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India and New Zealand Gear Up for World Cup Semi-Final

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New Zealand’s fast bowler, Lockie Ferguson, downplayed India’s outstanding performance in the tournament, emphasizing that both teams will “start from zero again” when they meet in Mumbai on Wednesday. Despite India’s flawless record of winning all nine of their group games, Ferguson highlighted the unpredictable nature of cricket, stating that the upcoming match would pose a significant challenge.

India, hosting the knockout match, enters the semi-final with an impressive track record, featuring star batsmen Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma. Additionally, India boasts a formidable fast-bowling lineup, including Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and the standout performer Mohammed Shami. Shami’s return to the team due to an injury to all-rounder Hardik Pandya has proven fortunate for India, with the experienced seamer delivering a stellar performance, taking 16 wickets in five matches at an extraordinary average of under 10.

The semi-final holds historical significance for both teams, as India seeks to secure its third World Cup title, having last achieved this feat in 2011. On the other hand, New Zealand, losing finalists in the last two 50-over World Cups, is determined to make a breakthrough.

Reflecting on the 2019 World Cup semi-final where New Zealand defeated India, Ferguson acknowledged the historical victory but emphasized that the teams have evolved since then. The upcoming match presents a fresh challenge, and both sides are approaching it with renewed determination.

India’s coach, Rahul Dravid, acknowledged the pressure associated with the tournament’s crucial stage but expressed confidence in the team’s ability to respond effectively. Dravid pointed to India’s response to pressure situations throughout the tournament, instilling belief in the squad.

The semi-final, scheduled at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, holds particular significance for Indian opener Rohit Sharma. Leading from the front, Rohit has played a pivotal role in India’s campaign, and his leadership will be crucial in a potentially challenging encounter.

New Zealand, however, possesses a world-class batsman in captain Kane Williamson, who has returned to form after a somewhat injury-plagued tournament. The team’s experienced pace attack, featuring Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and the lively Lockie Ferguson, adds depth to their bowling arsenal. Additionally, left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner has been a consistent threat, often underrated but effective.

Rachin Ravindra, a break-out star for New Zealand in this World Cup, has showcased exceptional batting skills, scoring 565 runs, including three centuries. The 23-year-old left-handed batsman, of Indian descent, is eager to play at the Wankhede Stadium, expressing his excitement for the match against India.

As the cricketing world eagerly anticipates the semi-final showdown, both India and New Zealand are geared up for a fiercely contested encounter, where past achievements and current form will be put to the test.

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