Cricket World Cup: New Zealand look to complete semi-final line-up

Cricket World Cup Statue

The co-hosts will look to join Australia, South Africa and India in the semi-finals of the cricket World Cup when they take on West Indies from 0100 GMT tonight in Wellington.

The Black Caps have been in imperious form thus far in the tournament and, along with India, are the only side to have won all of their games. They will start as firm favourites against a West Indies side who will just be pleased to have made the knockout stage following their opening-round loss to Ireland. Besides the defeat to Ireland, West Indies have also lost to India and heavily to South Africa.

Strengths and weaknesses:

The talking point from New Zealand's campaign to date has been the supreme performance of their bowling attack, led by the new ball pairing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Adam Milne and Daniel Vettori complete a potent quartet which is seen by some as the best at the World Cup. Captain Brendon McCullum is another obvious strength, having energised the team in the field and at the top of the order.

A possible slight chink that the West Indies could look to exploit is to use their strength - also their new-ball attack - to remove McCullum and Kane Williamson early and hope to put pressure on the middle-order. That middle-order is the only weakness that the home side have and even that is only a very slight one.

West Indies, by contrast, have plenty and will just hope that a couple of men in their team of match winners perform. Chris Gayle is one such man but he may not play due to ongoing problems with his back.

The top-order has consistently failed so far for the West Indies, with Dwayne Smith a particular disappointment. A lot will depend on the unproven pairing of Johnson Charles and Jonathan Carter to continue the promising form they showed against UAE, while Marlon Samuels, one feels, has to have a good game.

Conditions:

It is the start of Autumn in Wellington but it should be a fairly pleasant day; dry with temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. New Zealand will hope that the ball swings like it does so often in the country.

Team news:

New Zealand have all-but confirmed their eleven, with Adam Milne returning after missing the game against Bangladesh with a shoulder problem. He will replace Mitchell McClenaghan.

Probable XI: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill. Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (wicket-keeper), Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult.

West Indies have far more uncertainty with their selection. Chris Gayle may be unavailable, which would be a huge blow. If he does play it will be at the expense of Dwayne Smith or Johnson Charles. Another possible change is the dropping of the out-of-form Kemar Roach. He could make way for spinner Suliemann Benn or Sheldon Cottrell.

Possible XI: Chris Gayle/Dwayne Smith, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Jonathan Carter, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (captain), Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn.

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