India will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final of ICC World Cup 2019. While the Kiwis will be featuring in their eighth World Cup semis, India will participate in their seventh World Cup semi-final.
Interestingly, the encounter between Men in Blue and the Black Caps shares eerie similarities with the U-19 World Cup semi-finals in 2008 (Malaysia) where it was the same two teams that faced off against each other.
The current captains of both teams Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, who rose through the ranks of Under 19 cricket, led the two sides during the 2008 U-19 semi-finals.
Reflecting on it in the pre-match press conference, India captain Virat Kohli said, “A lot of players from that World Cup from our batch, from their batch, from other teams as well, made it to their national teams & are still playing. I think it is a really nice memory. Neither me nor him could have ever anticipated that one day this will happen.”
“When we meet tomorrow I’ll remind him. It’s nice to realise that 11 yrs after, we’re captaining our respective nations again in a senior World Cup,” he added.
On Tuesday, they will lead India and New Zealand in the #CWC19 semi-final at Old Trafford!
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 7, 2019
Incidentally, it was Kohli who had picked up Williamson’s wicket in 2008. “I got Kane’s wicket, really??? I don’t think this will happen again,” the skipper remarked.
Looking ahead at the game the Indian captain said, “Knockouts are a little bit different, league stages, you can try a few things, here you need to be precise. Decision-making is crucial, this is like some of the situations one faces in Test cricket.”
“Very happy with the role I am playing, a holding role, don’t care about individual landmarks, even Rohit said the same that day – according to me Rohit is the top ODI player in the world at the moment.”
“Remember in 2007 we played an u19 Test in NZ, Kane played a shot off one of our quicker fast bowlers and I remember saying in the slips never seen anyone play that so well.”
“Cannot remember the last time I stepped out to a field and felt, oh this is an easy game. Obviously, a World Cup knockout game brings a different pressure than a bilateral series. Important to treat this as a game of cricket.”
“Our bowling attack has been up there with the best if not the best. NZ bowling has always been a balanced attack, their team has been very consistent, will need to be very disciplined against them.”
“The team combo is still up for discussion, five bowlers or a sixth bowler will think about it but as you just told me, I am quite a lethal bowler and can get batsmen out as long as I don’t slip on landing…”
“Rahul is getting more and more comfortable in his role as an opener in this World Cup, as was seen in the Sri Lanka game. He is getting into that zone that we have seen in the IPL, we might see his most expressive self in the semis I think.”
Toss and Fitness-
“Toss important? Comes back to the same point- handling the pressure. I assume that the pressure can be very high. But we are not worried about the toss.”
“Whichever team is braver in being calculative, that team stands a better chance to win so we understand that combination,we’ve made it to a lot of knockout games&finals and it’s up to both to bring their A game. Whoever handles pressure better will come out on top.”
“This time around, the format has been different, have achieved the first goal, we can now focus on remaining games in the tournament. Bodies ain’t as fresh but we are equally motivated.”
“We are playing with a GPS tracker and that helps us a lot in understanding how much rest we need and it’s easier to convince players too on how much break is needed between games,” he concluded.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines