At the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, India topped the points table winning seven of their nine games and took on New Zealand in the first semi-final.
What happened next is history. The reserve day came into play after rain interruption as New Zealand sealed an 18-run win.
Fast forward to 2023 and India have topped the league stage at the competition, again. This time they have won all their nine matches and will face New Zealand in what will be a repeat of the 2019 semi-final.
New Zealand have been India’s bogey team at global events. If the heartbreak of 2019 in Manchester wasn’t enough, they extended India’s ICC trophy drought after beating them in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship two years later.
This time though, India, under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, will be fancying their chances against the Kiwis. They have already beaten them in the league stage and given their current form, the former two-time champions appear the clear favourites on paper.
India spinner Kuldeep Yadav doesn’t read too much into the past record.
“The 2019 semifinals was four years ago,” Kuldeep told reporters after defeated the Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday. “We have played a lot of bilateral series after that, so we know the conditions (in India) and so do they. Our preparation has been good and we have been able to play good cricket throughout the tournament.”
“So, we expect to continue in the same vein in the next match as well,” he added.
India have extended their winning streak to 9 matches in the world cup now and Kuldeep has played a vital role in ensuring that. The left-arm wrist spinner has picked up 14 wickets from nine matches and boasts of an economy of 4.15.
“I just work on my rhythm and strengths and focus on how batsmen are trying to play me. My aim is to land the ball on the good length area as much as possible,” Kuldeep explained.
“I just keep focusing on the process rather than on wickets. Hopefully, it will work in the next match also,” he added.
India and New Zealand will square off at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, a venue where batters have ruled the roost.