Team India finished first in the points table in 2019 as well, as it did in the ongoing 2023 World Cup. Men in Blue led by Virat Kohli at that time was seen as the biggest contender for the elusive World Cup championship in England. But India’s dreams were dashed when “45 minutes of bad cricket” cost them the semifinal against New Zealand in Manchester. Four years later, India finds itself in the same situation, having won nine straight league games, and it is New Zealand who stands between them and a place in the final, as the two meet in a semifinal showdown in Mumbai on Wednesday.
India hasn’t had much success in the World Cup semifinals. In actuality, they only made it through three of the seven qualifications for this knockout stage. Despite the numbers, India head coach Rahul Dravid is sure that his men can defeat the Blackcaps following impressive performances in the league stage.
I think it would be inauthentic to say it’s just another game. Yes, of course, it’s a semi-final. But I think our processes are not going to change. We do recognize that it’s an important game and it’s a knockout game. We have to accept the fact that there will be a certain amount of pressure, Dravid said.
I think the way we have responded to pressure so far gives us a lot of belief and a lot of confidence. I don’t think we will change anything in the way we prepare or the way we train. I am confident, just the vibe in the group and the energy in the group are good at this point, he added. All we can do is play what is in front of us. Staying in the moment. Plan well, prepare well, and play a good game of cricket, Dravid concluded.