India’s cricket team has been on a winning spree at this year’s World Cup, securing nine consecutive victories. This impressive performance has propelled them into the knockout stage, boosting their chances of securing a third World Cup title, following their triumphs in 1983 and 2011.
Learning from Past Experiences
Despite their current winning streak, India remains cautious. They recall their unbeaten run leading up to the semi-finals in Australia in 2015 and their single loss at the previous World Cup in England and Wales. Both instances ended with an unexpected exit at the final four stage.
India’s Strong Position for a Third Title
Renowned commentator Bhogle, in a recent episode of The ICC Review podcast, expressed his belief that India is well-positioned to defeat New Zealand in the semi-finals and secure their third World Cup title. He highlighted the potential advantage of the Wankhede Stadium’s pitch, which could favour India if it grips well.
Wankhede Stadium: A Game Changer
Bhogle pointed out that the toss at the Wankhede Stadium has become a significant factor. The ball behaves unpredictably under the lights during the first 10 overs, which has led to 17 wickets falling in the first four games. He suggested that batting first, scoring 330 or 340, and picking up two or three wickets in the first Powerplay could be a winning strategy for India.
India’s Revenge Match Against New Zealand
India’s next challenge is New Zealand, who defeated them in the 2019 World Cup. Rohit Sharma’s team is eager for revenge in the upcoming match in Mumbai. New Zealand started strong in India, winning their first four matches. However, a series of losses and injuries to key players have left them qualifying for the semi-finals by a narrow margin.
Can New Zealand Upset India?
While Bhogle admires New Zealand’s cricket style, he questions their ability to upset India in the upcoming match. He noted that New Zealand has struggled in this tournament and has yet to defeat a team that has qualified for the semi-final. He compared them to a top four EPL premiership side, lacking the X-factor needed to secure a victory.
Concerns Over New Zealand’s Bowling Depth
Bhogle also expressed concerns over New Zealand’s bowling depth. Despite having an impressive pace trio of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Lockie Ferguson, and a skilled spinner in Mitchell Santner, Bhogle questioned whether the Kiwis can rely on all-rounders Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra for an additional 10 overs of bowling.
New Zealand’s Potential Weakness
Bhogle speculated that the lack of a fifth bowler could be a weakness for New Zealand. He also noted several issues the team has faced since the start of the World Cup, particularly the challenges faced by their popular captain, Kane Williamson. However, he suggested that this could be the day everything falls into place for New Zealand.