Team India’s bogey team is standing in the way of another World Cup final appearance for Rohit Sharma and Co. at Wankhede. Will history repeat itself?
Is it coming home? Indian captain Rohit Sharma is two wins away from emulating legendary MS Dhoni, who masterminded India’s second ICC World Cup title triumph at the Wankhede Stadium in 2011. Overlooked by the Indian think tank for the 2011 World Cup, Rohit has a shot at redemption as the talismanic leader of the Men In Blue can land India’s first World Cup title since Dhoni and Co. triumphed in their backyard. Unbeaten in nine games, high-flying Team India will resume their rivalry with Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC World Cup at Wankhede on Wednesday.
Over the years, Team India has witnessed unforgettable highs and lows in World Cup cricket. In the 2019 edition of the 50-over spectacle, it was ’45 minutes of bad cricket’ that put Virat Kohli and Co. out of the ICC World Cup. Dubbed as favourites, India ran out of steam in the knockout phase as Matt Henry-inspired New Zealand edged past Kohli’s men in the rain-marred semi-final of the World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford. While many believed stars were aligned for Dhoni to pull off a thrilling run-chase after a Ravindra Jadeja classic, New Zealand bounced back in the death overs to extend India’s trophyless drought at the grandest stage.
India’s bogey team at World Cup
It’s an open secret that New Zealand are India’s bogey team in ICC events. India have only recorded two wins over the Black Caps in ten attempts across ICC tournaments. India have suffered defeats to New Zealand in its previous four knockout clashes. With Rohit at the helm, India ended its long-standing losing streak by hammering New Zealand in the round-robin phase of the ICC World Cup 2023. A Kohli masterclass paved the way for Rohit and Co. to break India’s 20-year jinx against the Kiwis at ICC tournaments.
All-rounder Rachin has already played a noteworthy knock of 75 against India. The Kiwi opener is also gunning for the numero uno position at the batters standings of the World Cup. The New Zealand batter has accumulated 565 runs in nine matches of the 50-over spectacle. The third-highest run-getter has also bowled nine overs and conceded 46 runs against India. Rohit’s Team India will have to feast on Kiwi spinners Rachin and Glenn Phillips at the World Cup semi-final. Ravindra and Phillips only leaked 58 runs in 11 overs at Dharamsala. Instead of targetting Mitchell Santner, Rohit and Co. can also go after the duo of Ravindra-Phillips in the rematch of the 2019 World Cup semi-final at Wankhede on Wednesday.