Looking to keep a clean sheet in the World Cup, India’s coaching staff got down to business shortly after landing in Mumbai on Monday afternoon ahead of their mega semifinal against New Zealand. India head coach Rahul Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and fielding coach T Dilip made their way to the Wankhede Stadium to inspect the pitch, on which the home team and title favourites play against the rusty but formidable Kiwis on Wednesday.
While unbeaten India did not have any training activity on Monday, given their league stage campaign ended only on the previous night with a 160-run win over the Netherlands, New Zealand spent three hours training under lights with full intensity in a bid to iron out the flaws that have surfaced of late.
If New Zealand’s four consecutive wins sounded an early warning for others at the start of the World Cup, as many losses in the last five matches took the momentum a bit.
There is green patches on the Wankhede pitch, at which India will play the Semi-Finals. . pic.twitter.com/SePXoRgWkC
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A win over hapless Sri Lanka did push them into the World Cup semifinals, where the persevering Kiwis will have to conjure their best to stop India’s juggernaut.
Rahul Dravid, Vikram Rathore and Paras Mhambrey checking the Wankhede pitch. pic.twitter.com/9wgNMfFKqM
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Having arrived in the city one day before their rivals for the semifinal contest, New Zealand certainly have a lot of ground to cover in order to lift their intensity. The Kiwis, who are a regular member in the semifinal stage when it comes to ODI World Cup, have had their share of troubles with regards to collective form, injuries to players and even losing someone as important as Matt Henry along the way.
Henry was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury but played his part well to take 11 wickets in seven matches.
His replacement, Kyle Jamieson was drafted into the squad about 10 days ago but did not get a game in the league stage. While Jamieson was a part of the series against England and Bangladesh in the lead up to the World Cup, he tried to build on the workload on Monday with the longest stint among bowlers as New Zealand’s preparation got underway.
The focus was clearly on batters as they had long hits in the nets. A long game of intra-squad football followed, after which the Kiwis did fielding and catching drills.
Rachin Ravindra, who is among the tournament’s highest run-getters, had a long hit in the nets alongside captain Kane Williamson, opening partner Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell in rotation.
The fast bowlers — Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson — also had a bowling stint at the venue, where New Zealand will be playing their first game of this World Cup.
While Ravindra and Mitchell returned to the nets for bowling, Williamson spent a good half an hour shadow batting just outside one of the nets here while keeping an eye on the proceedings.
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