Rohit Sharma’s Team India will be chasing history when they clash with New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
The Indian team is on a winning spree at this World Cup racking up nine wins out of nine games in the league stage and go into the high-pressure semifinal clash against the Kiwis with their tails up.
Pressure of expectations on Team India
The weight and pressure of a World Cup semifinal especially for a team like India which has not clinched an ICC title in a decade and not got past the semifinal stage in the last two ODI World Cup editions would be immense and skipper Rohit understands that.
However, he feels his team will not get bogged down by the pressure of the occasion nor the expectation of going all the way being on an unbeaten streak never seen before at a World Cup.
Rohit's take on chasing history
“That’s the beauty of this game. Half of the guys in this team were not even born when we won our first World Cup and when we won our second World Cup, half of the guys were not even playing the game.”
“This current crop of players are more into what is happening in the game right now and what is the focus tomorrow. Those are the things that they are focusing on and they are not too bothered about how we won our last World Cup and how we won our first World Cup etc,’’ the skipper revealed when asked about India’s World Cup titles and history.
Dominant India ready to challenge consistent NZ
India has been absolutely in rollicking form in all departments and bowling has stood out more simply because it is often overshadowed by the batters.
The five-pronged Indian bowling attack has given the opposition batters a hard time all through the tournament and will be expected to carry the rich vein of form into the semifinal as well.
With the Wankhede historically known to favour teams that bat first, India are likely to exercise that option if Rohit wins the toss but the captain is prepared either way.
“Toss is absolutely not a factor as far as I’m concerned. Wankhede is a ground where I’ve played a lot of my cricket and I know a bit about it,’’ Rohit added.
Revenge on the cards
New Zealand are the only team in the competition who have given India a challenge in their game at Dharamsala where India were in a bit of a bother at one stage before Virat Kohli bailed them out.
Historically, New Zealand have been the bogey team for India at ICC knockout stages and the 2019 World Cup semifinal where they knocked India out is still fresh in memory.
This Indian team is made of sterner stuff. They are a far superior team with almost all bases covered and working like a supremely well-oiled machine.
With critics wondering if India would wilt under knockout stage pressure or if they have peaked too early, this Indian team which has shown all the signs of going all the way and lifting the trophy, has a point or two to prove.
Champion teams rise when the occasion is upon them and India will have to play their best cricket to put it past the ever-gritty New Zealanders.