Coach Dravid backs India`s `vibe and energy` ahead of World Cup semi-final

India coach Rahul Dravid says he backs the “action and energy” in his team as they plan ICC World Cup 2023 semi-final revenge against New Zealand on Wednesday.

Four years ago, New Zealand beat India in the last four by just 18 runs in a match that stretched over two days due to rain. That loss ended India’s wait for a third World Cup title after 1983 and the 2011 win at home.

Five of the men who featured in the 2019 semi-final in Manchester — Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja — playing in Mumbai on Wednesday. “When it goes well it looks good. One loss and everyone says ‘you don’t know anything’,” Dravid said on Sunday after India thrashed the Netherlands by 160 runs to reach the group stage perfect of nine wins in nine games.

“I think we’ll be disingenuous if we say ‘it’s just another game’. Yes, of course it’s the semi-final, but I think our processes and what we’ve done in every game so far . change.” There will be a certain amount of pressure but I think the way we’ve responded to the pressure so far gives us a lot of credit and confidence. I’m confident in the vibe and energy of the group.”

In 2019, India were set a modest target of 240 to beat New Zealand but lost their last four wickets by 13 runs. There was no shortage of runs on Sunday as India’s top five batsmen scored 50 and over.

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Skipper Rohit Sharma made 61 with Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli both hitting 51 before a 208-run stand between Shreyas Iyer (128 not out) and KL Rahul (102) steered the team to 410-4.

“I think our middle-order is great,” Dravid told broadcasters Star Sports. “Obviously the top order is the one that gets to bat all the time and scores a lot of runs for us and look at the leaderboard on numbers you will see the Kohlis and the Sharmas and so on, batting to great.”

He added: “To fight like they are, whether it was Shreyas, whether it was KL, and even Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja), even Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) but that gives us that confidence that we .you have that experience.

“We’ve got that ability and they’re in such good form and playing really well to reach the semi-final.” Kohli leads the tournament batting charts with 594 runs, followed by South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (591), New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra (565) and Rohit (503).

Iyer, who came into Sunday’s match on the back of scores of 82 and 77, now has 421 runs at a strike rate of over a hundred. He fought a 94-ball innings, lit with 10 fours and five sixes to be named man of the match.

“​​​​I got deja vu, this happened with Australia too, and I threw my wicket away. Today, I wanted to be not out,” said Iyer, who returned to the team in September after recovering from a back injury. “I took pills for the cramps. I think the recent scores helped me in this innings.”

(With agency input)

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