The semifinalists for the ongoing 2023 Cricket World Cup have been confirmed, as fans gear up for some thrilling knockout action. Hosts India take on New Zealand in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Mumbai. Both sides faced each other in the 2019 World Cup, where New Zealand came out on top, before losing to eventual winners England in the final. Meanwhile, South Africa take on Australia in the other semi-final on Thursday, in Kolkata. The final is scheduled for Sunday, in Ahmedabad.
Ahead of the knockouts, legends Matthew Hayden and Anil Kumble sat down with ESPNcricinfo to name their best XI of the 2023 World Cup league stage. For the openers slot, the pair chose South Africa’s Quinton de Kock and India captain Rohit Sharma. De Kock is currently second in the run chart with 591 runs in nine matches and Rohit is fourth with 503 runs in the same number of games. “QDK for me has been the standout player. Rohit Sharma for obvious reasons. Those two inside the powerplay have been dynamic,” said Hayden.
“If I had to put my life on two players getting runs in this World Cup. They are my number one and number two,” he further added.
For their no. 3 and no. 4 batters, the duo selected Virat Kohli and Rachin Ravindra. Kohli is currently the tournament’s highest run-scorer with 594 runs in nine matches. Meanwhile, Ravindra became the first player to get three tons in their debut World Cup. “He is certainly the breakout young player of this World Cup. I am sure I would certainly go for Rachin Ravindra, whether you put him at no. 3 or no. 4, it doesn’t matter. He has been batting at 1, 2, 3, 4, you can put him wherever. Virat Kohli, for sure. Yes, he has batter no. 3 for India. So if he bats no. 3, Rachin Ravindra bats no. 4. If Ravindra bats no. 3, we can use the right-left combination. It is very difficult to pick in a World Cup, your two choices,” explained Kumble.
Glenn Maxwell and Heinrich Klaasen were added to their playing XI as no. 5 and no. 6 batters. “Maxwell and Klaasen for me. The reason why, when you look at those stats again, I am going on strike rate, I am going on who is going to be under pressure. I mean they are the real heads of both Australia and South Africa’s batting efforts with spin in particular. Strike rate of Maxwell is off the Richter scale, it’s not even 150, it’s 180. Klaasen for the same reason as well, that is an enormous strike rate,” said.
“I want to have impact players here,” he added.
Kumble and Hayden selected Adam Zampa and Ravindra Jadeja as their two spinners. The Indian legend stated, “Zampa clearly ahead of the pack. He has been the lone spinner for Australia, he has taken the pressure and he is the reason why Australia qualified. It is a challenge between Santner and Jadeja, I would go with Jadeja, not just with the ball but also with the bat. At no. 7, he has been instrumental.”
For the pace battery, they went for Marco Jansen, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. “Jansen, Shami and Bumrah would be my first picks,” said Hayden.
Here is their best XI of the 2023 World Cup league stage:
Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Maxwell, Heinrich Klaasen, Ravindra Jadeja, Marco Jansen, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Adam Zampa