It is confirmed! India will face New Zealand in the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. In the other semi-final, South Africa will face Australia at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. The semi-final line-up was confirmed after the Babar Azam-led Pakistan got officially eliminated from World Cup 2023 after failing to chase a huge 338-run target in 6.4 overs against England – which was always going to be an impossible task.
After New Zealand’s win over Sri Lanka on Thursday, the 2019 Cricket World Cup runners-up had all but assured themselves a semi-final spot. However, Pakistan and Afghanistan still had mathematical chance to qualify for the last four. They both needed to win their last round-robin matches by humongous margins to have a shot at a semi-final spot.
However, Afghanistan lost their last round-robin stage match to South Africa on Friday. On Saturday, Pakistan also needed a miracle. After England put up 337/9, Pakistan needed to chase down the target in just 6.4 overs, which was impossible in all practical sense. Pakistan reached 30/2 in 6.4 overs against defending champions England.
In the 2019 Cricket World Cup, India lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals. However, this time India have looked a must greater force with all the players in form.
“The bowlers have enjoyed bowling under the lights. Like going into the semi-final, would you prefer having them bowl first over here and just to get accost to the conditions of the Wankhede?” Indian cricket team coach Rahul Dravid was asked on Saturday.
“We’ve done both things. To be honest with you, we bowled first. We batted first in this tournament. I think that’s been the really good thing for us in eight games. I think in the first four or five, I think we batted first and then we had to chase in the last three. So, we’ve actually done both things and we’re pretty comfortable with both things,” he replied.
“So, I’m not too worried about it. We’ll have a look at the wicket and see what we need to do and decide what we want to do. So, there are advantages and disadvantages of both things. I mean, there are arguments both ways of, you know, batting first and putting up a score and hopefully setting the tone that way.
“And there’s also an argument of chasing as well, which means that you probably have to bowl in the sun and stuff. But look, again, the toss is not in our hands, it’s not going to be in our hands in the semi-finals. And I think we are comfortable both ways. We will just make it. We will have a look at the wicket today and come tomorrow and have a look at the wicket as well. And then, you know, whatever call Rohit makes, we will go with it.”
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