Recalling the 2019 Semi-Final
Lockie Ferguson, a key player in the New Zealand cricket team, was part of the unforgettable semi-final against India in Manchester four years ago. The match, which was extended to two days due to heavy rain, is a cherished memory for Ferguson and his teammates. However, he was quick to remind the press that both teams have evolved significantly since the last World Cup.
Changes and Continuity in New Zealand Cricket
Despite the passage of four years, the current New Zealand team continues the country’s impressive track record in men’s white-ball competitions. The Kiwis have made it to the final four in five consecutive ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups, including being runners-up in 2019 and 2015, and semi-finalists in 2011 and 2007. Their consistent performance in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cups, with semi-final appearances in 2016, 2021, and 2022, is also noteworthy. Ferguson credits the team’s consistent performance to their level-headed approach and commitment to their processes.
Ferguson’s Role in the 2019 Semi-Final
In the 2019 semi-final, Ferguson played a crucial role in helping New Zealand defend 239/8 at Old Trafford. His bowling figures of 1/43 from ten overs were instrumental in stifling India’s chase after early wickets. The same three-pronged seam attack could have been deployed in the upcoming semi-final if not for Matt Henry’s unfortunate injury earlier in the tournament.
Adjusting to Matt Henry’s Absence
Responding to a reporter’s query about the team’s performance without Henry, Ferguson acknowledged the significant gap left by Henry’s absence but expressed confidence in the team’s ability to perform well. He highlighted Tim Southee’s experience and familiarity with playing in India as valuable assets for the team. Despite the disappointment of Henry’s World Cup exit, Ferguson affirmed that the team is ready to face the challenges ahead.
Looking Ahead to the 2023 Tournament
New Zealand’s smooth start to the 2023 tournament was disrupted by India in Dharamsala. However, the Black Caps’ narrow four-wicket loss against the undefeated hosts offers some comfort. Ferguson believes that managing the “ebbs and flows” of ODI cricket will be key to their chances of unsettling Rohit Sharma’s team in Mumbai. He emphasized the need to adapt to the pitch, set a competitive score, and defend it effectively.