CricketBlack Caps fancy the underdogs tag
─── MORGAN PIEK 09:16 Wed, 15 Nov 2023
“The underdog thing - from what you guys write I don't think it has changed too much, but that's fine you know and India have been exceptional. One of the, if not the best team going around.”
The first semi-final of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup gets on Tuesday with the host nation, India, coming up against the Black Caps of New Zealand in Mumbai.
The two-time champions India, are the team to beat in the competition after winning all nine of their pool games. In the previous matches between the two teams, India beat the Black Caps by 4 wickets in the picturesque Dharamshala.
India are certainly the most complete unit at the World Cup, but the New Zealanders are a team that can perform in big matches.
They proved this in 2015 and 2019 by beating South Africa and India in the respective semi-finals, only to stumble at the last hurdle.
They also do have the knack of putting bowling attacks under pressure early with the bat and they are looking to stick to their DNA.
Kane Williamson - Cricinfo
The Kiwi captain, Kane Williamson, said for them the most important thing will be to hit the reset button and forget about the past and the future.
“I think every game in this tournament is a tricky one. I think as we've seen throughout, any team can beat anybody on the day, and whether that's obviously the quality in both sides, but also the changing conditions and how that has an impact.
“For us, it's great to have got to the final stages and then take a fresh approach because it does start again.
“The underdog thing - from what you guys write I don't think it has changed too much, but that's fine you know and India have been exceptional. One of the, if not the best team going around and playing cricket that matches that, but we know as well on our day when we play our best cricket, it certainly gives us the best chance and come finals time anything can happen.”
Play at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai is scheduled to get underway at 10:30.
Meanwhile, over in Kolkata, South Africa and Australia are preparing for their semi-final. The bad news is that there is rain predicted for tomorrow and South Africa has been on the receiving end of the weather numerous times at World Cups.
However, the Proteas did end higher on the log and with a much better net run rate than Australia.
Adam Zampa - Cricinfo
The Proteas are more concerned about the turn the wicket has to offer during the game, as they five-time World Champions, have Adam Zampa in their arsenal.
Zampa is the leading wicket-taker at the World Cup with 22 scalps to date.
The Proteas coach, Rob Walter, believes that he will be a great contest between bat and ball.
“Adam's up there with the top wicket-takers and he's a quality bowler,” said Walter.
“We did play well against him, but we're under no illusions that he's a threat because he's an international-grade bowler performing really well. It's really exciting, we have confidence.
“It's a match-up of skills. The wicket will probably turn a little bit and our play of spin will be under the spotlight. It's exciting.”
Weather permitting, this semi-final at Eden Gardens will get underway on Thursday morning at 10:30.
Morgan Piek OFM Sport