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Cricket World Cup semi-final tips: India and South Africa to meet in final

The Cricket World Cup has reached the semi-final stage with trophy favourites India facing New Zealand on Wednesday before South Africa take on Australia on Thursday.

James Milton's Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals Tips

Mohammed Shami to be India Top Bowler @ 5/2 
Shreyas Iyer to score Over 27.5 Runs @ 5/6 
South Africa to beat Australia @ 11/10 
Marco Jansen to be Player of the Match vs Australia @ 14/1 

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

Setting the scene…..

Any concerns that World Cup hosts India might struggle to cope with the weight of expectation have been dispelled by a stunning run of nine wins out of nine during the league stage of the tournament.

Rohit Sharma's men are 1/3 to defeat 12/5 shots New Zealand at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium although the Kiwis will be inspired by the memory of their 2019 semi-final win over India at Old Trafford.

In Thursday's second semi, five-time winners Australia are 8/11 to extend 11/10 South Africa's poor record in knockout games. 

The Proteas have never got beyond the semi-final at a 50-over World Cup but they thumped the Aussies by 134 runs in their league meeting.

Mohammed Shami to be India Top Bowler @ 5/2

India lifted the World Cup trophy at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011 and they should enjoy another memorable victory at the Mumbai venue against New Zealand, who scraped into the semi-finals despite losing four of their last five games.

The first of those defeats came against India in Dharamshala, where fast bowler Mohammed Shami took 5-54 in his first appearance of the tournament.

Shami followed up with a brilliant spell of 4-22 in the demolition of England and 5-18 at the Wankhede against Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for just 55, so he poses a huge threat to the Black Caps' batters.  

James Milton's Tip:

Mohammed Shami is an appealing bet to be India's Top Bowler given his recent course form in Mumbai and his five-wicket haul in the league clash with New Zealand.

Shami also warmed up for the World Cup by taking five wickets in an ODI against Australia in Mohali and his Kiwi victims included the in-form Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell.  

Shreyas Iyer to score Over 27.5 Runs @ 5/6

India have a formidable top three of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli, the leading runscorer in the league stage, but middle-order men Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul stole the show with centuries in Sunday's win over the Netherlands.

Iyer's last three innings were 82 against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede, 77 against South Africa and 128 not out against the Dutch and he should be backed to exceed a runs line of 27.5 in the semi-final. 

James Milton's Tip:

India's number four Shreyas Iyer finished the league stage in fine form, hitting six sixes in his 56-ball 82 against Sri Lanka before Sunday's ton against the Dutch, and he has a terrific record against New Zealand.

Iyer has batted six times against the Black Caps in ODIs, making 103, 52, 62, 80, 49 and 33, and another significant contribution is expected on Wednesday.

South Africa to beat Australia @ 11/10

History suggests Australia should handle the semi-final pressure better than South Africa but the Proteas can take heart from the fact that they have won their last four ODIs against the Aussies, all by more than 100 runs.

South Africa won seven of their nine league matches while Australia needed a miraculous Glenn Maxwell double-century to drag them out of deep trouble against Afghanistan.

The Aussies have picked up impressively after losing their first two games but South Africa's power-packed batting unit and impressive bowling attack give them a real chance of reaching their first World Cup final.   

James Milton's Tip:

Much will depend on the early exchanges in Kolkata as Australia's top three David Warner, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh take on a classy South Africa new-ball attack.

There is not much between the teams in terms of personnel and current form and, at the prices, South Africa get the nod given September's home series win over the Aussies and last month's 134-run triumph in Lucknow. 

Marco Jansen to be Player of the Match vs Australia @ 14/1

Marco Jansen's ability to pick up wickets in the first 10 overs has been a key factor in South Africa's success and the fearless young all-rounder could rise to the occasion in the semi-final.

Jansen took two wickets in the league win over Australia, dismissing opener Mitchell Marsh early on, and he smashed an unbeaten 75 off just 42 balls against England in Mumbai.

The left-armer took a pounding in the defeat to India at Eden Gardens but had claimed 3-31 against New Zealand and 3-43 against Pakistan in his previous two games and is an eye-catching price to be named player of the match.  

James Milton's Tip:

Marco Jansen took 17 wickets in eight league matches, also showcasing his hitting ability at number seven, and he should be backed to bounce back from his mauling by India's batters in Kolkata.

He was player of the match in the final game of September's ODI series against Australia, smashing 47 off 23 balls before taking 5-39, and the 23-year-old could have a big role to play on Thursday.

James Milton's Cricket World Cup Semi-Finals Tips

Mohammed Shami to be India Top Bowler @ 5/2 
Shreyas Iyer to score Over 27.5 Runs @ 5/6 
South Africa to beat Australia @ 11/10 
Marco Jansen to be Player of the Match vs Australia @ 14/1 

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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