Black Caps v India preview: The road to the semis

New Zealand batsman Rachin Ravindra (R) celebrates his age with teammate Devon Conway.
Photo: Photosport

The biggest upset of the Cricket World Cup or the other speed bump on India’s path to final victory? The Black Caps hope it will be the first on Wednesday night when they face the host nation at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, but it hasn’t been all their own way in the competition so far. In fact, this has arguably been their rockiest road to the World Cup semi-finals, starting brilliantly with four wins and then four losses.

Let’s take a look at the Black Caps Cricket World Cup 2023:

Game 1: Black Caps 283 for 1 (Conway 152*, Ravindra 123*) def. England 282 for 9 (Root 77, Henry 3-48, Santner 2-37) by nine wickets

A perfect start, the perfect revenge for what happened at the Lords four years ago. It’s fair to say that not too many people expected such a dominant performance in the opening game of the tournament, which featured two unbeaten tons from Rachin Ravindra and Devon Conway. Ravindra picked up a wicket and man of the match, to start what would be an incredible run. The only downside was that the total crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was about 110,000 less than the ground.

New Zealand's Rachin Ravindra against England's Jos Buttler keeping wicket

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra against England’s Jos Buttler keeping wicket

Game 2: Black Caps 322 for 7 (Young 70, Latham 53, van der Merwe 2-56) def. Netherlands 223 (Ackermann 69, Santner 5-59, Henry 3-40) by 99 runs

The Black Caps benefited from a wicket turn, with Mitch Santner taking five wickets after Will Young and Tom Latham set up a total that was always going to be too much for the Dutch. Ravindra finished with the half-century, and although there were a few handy partnerships, the overall victory was a comfortable one given the methodical nature of the Black Caps’ attack.

Game 3: Black Caps 248 for 2 (Conway 89*, Williamson 78, Mustafizur 1-36) def. Bangladesh 245 for 9 (Mushfiqur 66, Shakib 41*, Ferguson 3-49) by eight wickets

The first bad news hit the Black Caps in this one. Although it was a comfortable win as Kane Williamson returned to action with an innings of 78 after a long injury layoff, he had to leave the field after breaking his thumb. In what was a very business-like performance, the Black Caps reduced Bangladesh to 56/4 early on and set themselves up for a very respectable total, with the win moving to three wins from three matches.

New Zealand captain Kane WIlliamson was injured and retired for 78 during the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup between New Zealand and Bangladesh at MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.  Friday, 13 October 2023. Photo Copyright: Raghavan Venugopal /

New Zealand captain Kane WIlliamson was injured and retired for 78 during the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup between New Zealand and Bangladesh at MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Friday, 13 October 2023. Photo Copyright: Raghavan Venugopal /
Photo: Copyright © Photosport Ltd 2023

Game 4: Black caps 288 for 6 (Phillips 71, Latham 68, Naveen 2-48, Omarzai 2-56) def. Afghanistan 139 (Rahmat 36, Omarzai 27, Santner 3-39, Ferguson 3-19) by 149 runs

Afghanistan left the 2023 Cricket World Cup having won many hearts for their brave performance and upset victory, but this was certainly not one of them. Some butter-fingered fielding helped the Black Caps, as the Afghans dropped five chances and bombed out runs, then exploded for 104 off the last 10 overs to set up a defendable total. Lockie Ferguson and Santner made sure the Afghans got nowhere near it with three wickets each. But that’s the high-water mark for the next little while.

Game 5: India 274 for 6 (Kohli 95, Rohit 46, Jadeja 39*, Ferguson 2-63) def. Black Caps 273 (Mitchell 130, Ravindra 75, Shami 5-54, Kuldeep 2-73) by four wickets

Despite a big ton from Daryl Mitchell, the Black Caps couldn’t do much to stop India from surpassing their unbeaten record. Mohammed Shami ripped through the top order with five against, and the Indian batsmen were just playing their roles out of total probably needed 50 more runs to be competitive. Whatever the Black Caps learned in defeat they can use in the semi-final, however.

New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell.

New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell.
Photo: Photosport

Game 6: Australia 388 (Head 109, Warner 81, Phillips 3-37, Boult 3-77) def. Black Caps 383 for 9 (Ravindra 116, Neesham 58, Mitchell 54, Zampa 3-74) by five runs

It’s hard to know what was more prayerful about this one: going to bed after watching Travis Head and David Warner smash 118 off the first 10 overs or waking up to find the Black Caps had collapsed to very short in an epic run. The Aussies would have had even more had Glenn Phillips not rolled his arm over and picked up 3 for 37, including 30 dot balls. By now everyone was starting to pay attention to everything Ravindra was doing,​​​​his 116 would have felt much sweeter if it had been a winning effort.

Game 7: South Africa 357 for 4 (van der Dussen 133, de Kock 114, Miller 53*, Southee 2-77) def. Black Caps 167 (Phillips 60, Young 33, Maharaj 4-46, Jansen 3-31) by 190 runs

So this is the real outlier. While there were redeeming elements to the other losses at this World Cup, this was a complete vacuum from start to finish as Quentin de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen blasted their way to the far end, then hitters couldn’t Black Caps enter. answer.

Gerald Coetzee of South Africa celebrates the wicket of Will Young of New Zealand.

Gerald Coetzee of South Africa celebrates the wicket of Will Young of New Zealand.
Photo: Photosport

Game 8: Pakistan 200 for 1 (Zaman 126*, Babar 66*, Southee 1-27) def. Black Caps 401 for 6 Ravindra 105, Williamson 95, Wasim 3-60) by 21 runs (DLS)

How do you score 401 in 50 games and how do you lose? Although it is tempting to blame Duckworth and Lewis, it was probably assumed that the Pakistanis would have reduced the Black Caps’ total collapse due to their batting pace. Ravindra raised his bat again in the rain-affected result, so the equation became clear for the Black Caps with a semi-final place left in the next game.

Game 9: Black Caps 172 for 5 (Conway 45, Mitchell 43, Mathews 2-29) def. Sri Lanka 171 (Perera 51, Boult 3-37, Ravindra 2-21) by five wickets

And they couldn’t have done it more comprehensively. Williamson returned but did not cause much trouble to the scorers, but it is fair to say that his own presence was a big factor in the victory. The game was over before the disappointing Sri Lankans even reached 100, meaning that while the Black Caps have had a tough stretch in their last four games, they can at least run into the semi-final with some momentum. However, India is unlikely to be as ready for this effort in Sri Lanka.

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