Ross Taylor anticipates nervous India in high-stakes semifinal encounter against New Zealand
New Zealand's Ross Taylor draws parallels with the 2019 edition as he foresees India's nervousness in the upcoming Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal.
Ross Taylor anticipates India's nerves as they face New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup 2023 semifinal, drawing comparisons with the 2019 edition when New Zealand halted India's campaign. Reflecting on their parallel situations, Taylor, a key figure in the 2019 semifinal, suggests that New Zealand, with nothing to lose, can be a formidable opponent, making India cautious. Despite the challenging task, Taylor emphasizes the importance of a strong start, especially in the first ten overs, to create pressure on India's top-heavy batting lineup. He highlights the significance of Rachin Ravindra and the need to keep wickets in hand against India's potent bowlers. The Wankhede Stadium's high-scoring nature adds to the anticipation of a thrilling encounter.
"Four years ago, India went into the semi-final as the form side in the tournament, while we were more focused on ensuring our net run-rate would keep Pakistan out of reach for the final spot in the top four.
"This time around, India are even bigger favourites, at home and having played so well during the group stage. But when we have nothing to lose, New Zealand teams can be dangerous. If there is a team that India will be nervous facing, it will be this New Zealand side," said Ross Taylor
"We're up against it, of course, but that was also the case in 2019. That was a two-day one-day game! (due to rain). It was a strange situation for me, I was not out overnight. That is nerve-wracking enough in Test cricket, let alone a one-dayer and a World Cup semi-final," he recalled.
The game will be played at the Wankhede Stadium, usually a high-scoring venue.
Taylor said if New Zealand can strike early, it will put tremendous pressure on the Indian middle-order.
"The toss is important but if New Zealand can start well with bat and ball, that will give them a lot of confidence to stay in the fight. The first ten overs in both innings are crucial. When India are batting, you want to get them two or three down in the first ten overs to put them under pressure. They rely heavily on an excellent top three. There is Shubman Gill, the number one player in the world, and then Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. We need to try to make inroads and put the middle order under pressure."
"Then when India are bowling, it is similar. You want to score runs but it is also vital we keep wickets in hand against weapons like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.
"When they get on a roll, they can be a lethal force, and the spinners can really pile on the pressure. If you keep wickets in hand, that is when it becomes a bit easier, rather than having to chase the game," said Taylor.
Rachin Ravindra has been the stand out batter for New Zealand, amassing 565 runs in his first World Cup including three hundreds. He holds key for New Zealand, said Taylor.
"It will be a big day for Rachin Ravindra. When you have a guy who is named after a combination of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, it is special to play India in India in a World Cup semi-final. We needed someone to score heavily in the tournament. I am not sure many people would have expected it to be Rachin but I have been really impressed, not only by the runs he has scored but also the way he has gone about it, his tempo and calmness. He is just going out there and batting like he did as a little kid. He has not put any pressure on himself and I hope he continues to do that. He has a big part to play in the semi-final and in the future for New Zealand."
"It is funny to think that if Michael Bracewell wouldn't be injured, Rachin probably would not have made it. Luck has probably played a part, but we all need that," he concluded