Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Hosts India are considered favourites against New Zealand in the first semifinal of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.  

However, former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has issued a stern warning to the in-form Men in Blue. As per Taylor, the Kiwis are the one team India would not have wanted to face in the knockouts.

“Four years ago, India went into the semifinal as the in-form side in the tournament. 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 can be so dangerous. If there is a team that India will be nervous facing, it will be this New Zealand side,” said Taylor during an interview.

“New Zealand’s biggest test will be dealing with the pitch conditions at the Wankhede. 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,” he further said.

“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 No.1 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. If you can do that, it stifles them and affects how early they can assert their dominance. When India are bowling, it is similar. You want to score runs but it is also vital we keep wickets in hand against pacers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami. When they get on a roll, they can be lethal. Subsequently, the spinners can really pile on the pressure,” he added.