Team India registered a comprehensive 160-run win over the Netherlands in its final match of the group stage in the 2023 World Cup on Sunday. Rohit Sharma‘s men, thus, have ensured they ended the group stage unbeaten, with wins in all nine matches; the side was justifiably the first to qualify for the semi-finals, where it faces old foes New Zealand. It was the Kiwis who emerged victorious against India at the same stage four years ago; then, a Virat Kohli-led Indian team faced a narrow 21-run loss to New Zealand in a rain-hit match in Manchester.
However, the Indian team is enjoying a brilliant run this time around, and will face Kane Williamson’s men in familiar conditions in Mumbai. The two sides face on Wednesday and ahead of the high-voltage clash, India’s star spinner Kuldeep Yadav insisted that the memories of India’s loss in the 2019 World Cup won’t come to haunt the side this time around.
“The 2019 semifinals (against NZ) was four years ago. We have played a lot of bilateral series after that, so we know the conditions (in India) and so do they. Our preparation has been good and we have been able to play good cricket throughout the tournament. So, we expect to continue in the same vein in the next match as well,” Kuldeep said, as quoted by PTI.
India have earlier defeated New Zealand by four wickets during the group stage in Dharamsala; unlike the Indian team, the Kiwis had a rather challenging run into the semis. They required a win in their final match of the group stage, having faced four losses in 8 games. As expected, New Zealand did put out a dominant performance to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets, thus booking a berth in the semis.
Kuldeep, however, insisted that the conditions in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai can be challenging for bowlers.
“It is a difficult venue to bowl. The bounce is true and batsmen often dominate there. Unlike in T20, of course, the bowlers have plenty of time to come back into the game,” said Kuldeep.
“But yes, you need a couple of early wickets to get on top of the game and opponents.”
India face New Zealand on November 15 and the second semi-final – between South Africa and Australia – takes place the next day in Kolkata.