Two days before the decisive game, former New Zealand player Ross Taylorattempted to play mind games and reminded India of the 2019 World Cup semi-final result. India’s impressive run was halted when New Zealand defeated the Virat Kohli-led side in the rain-soaked semi-final in Manchester. Taylor on Monday hinted that India might be nervous about facing New Zealand in the World Cup, drawing comparisons with both teams’ campaigns in the 2019 edition.
Similar to 2019, India advanced to the semi-finals as league leaders. New Zealand, on the other hand, finished the league phase in fourth place with five wins in nine games despite a strong start to the current tournament.
“As New Zealand prepare to face India in the semi-finals of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, it is impossible not to look back at the parallels to 2019,” Taylor, who took part in that semi-final in Manchester, told ICC.
“Four years ago, India went into the semi-finals as the best team in the tournament, while we were more focused on ensuring our net run rate kept Pakistan out of reach for the final top-four spot.”
“This time India are even bigger favorites, at home and because they played so well in the group stage. But when we have nothing to lose, New Zealand teams can be dangerous.”
“If there is one team India will be nervous against, it is this New Zealand team,” said one of New Zealand’s most prolific batsmen.
However, New Zealand’s task will be a herculean one given the Indian team’s current form.
World Cup India vs Netherlands: India defeated Netherlands by 160 runs
“Of course we struggle with it, but that was also the case in 2019. This was a two day one day game! (due to rain). It was a strange situation for me, I wasn’t out overnight.” . That’s nerve-wracking enough in Test cricket, let alone a one-dayer and a World Cup semi-final,” he recalled.
The match will be played at Wankhede Stadium, a normally high-scoring venue.
Taylor said if New Zealand can strike early it would put huge pressure on the Indian middle class.
“The throw is important but if New Zealand can start well with bat and ball it will give them a lot of confidence to stay in the fight.”
“The first ten overs of both innings are crucial. When India are batting, you want to hit them with two or three in the first ten overs to put them under pressure. They rely heavily on an excellent top three.”
“There are Shubman Gillthe number one player in the world, and then Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. We have to try to move forward and put pressure on the middle class.
“Then when India bowls, it’s similar. You want to score runs but it is also important that we keep the wickets in hand against weapons like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.”
“When they make a throw they can be a lethal force and the spinners can really pile on the pressure. Keeping the wickets in hand makes it a little easier rather than having to chase the game,” Taylor said.
Rachin Ravindra was New Zealand’s standout batsman, scoring 565 runs, including three hundreds, in his first World Cup. He was the key to New Zealand, said Taylor.
“It will be a big day for Rachin Ravindra. When you have a man named after a combination of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, playing against India in a World Cup semi-final in India is special.”
“We needed someone to score big in the tournament. I’m not sure a lot of people would have expected it to be Rachin, but I was really impressed by him, not just with the runs he scored but the way he went about it .” Pace and calm.
“He just goes out and hits like he did as a little kid. He didn’t put any pressure on himself and I hope he continues to do so. He will play a big role in the semi-finals and in the future for New Zealand.
“It’s funny to think that if Michael Bracewell had made it to the World Cup, Rachin probably wouldn’t have made it. Luck probably played a role, but we all need that,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)
“Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate.”