Black Caps all-rounder Ross Taylor says India will be “serious” about facing New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals after a crushing victory over the same opponents four years ago.
Taylor was a key member of the New Zealand side that stunned the Indians by 18 runs in the rain-hit Manchester 2019 semi-final to book a place against eventual champions England.
Writing a column for the ICC, Taylor said it was “impossible not to look back at the similarities” ahead of Wednesday’s match in Mumbai.
On both occasions, India were the top qualifiers and heavy favourites, while New Zealand scraped into the fourth and final berth.
“This time, India are even better, at home and having played so well during the group stage,” wrote Taylor.
“But when we have nothing to lose, New Zealand teams can be dangerous. If there is a team that India will be nervous about facing, it will be the New Zealand side. the case in 2019.”
Taylor top-scored with 74 at Old Trafford in a table that was crossed over two days – an experience he described as “nerve-wracking”.
Rain intervened late on the first day and the Black Caps eventually settled the Indians for 240 after ending their innings early on the second.
India were bowled out at 24-4 – led by Matt Henry’s 3-37 – and were eventually dismissed for 221, silencing an India-dominated crowd who hoped the New Zealand on their vaunted batting line.
“I’d say the crowd was probably about 80 percent Indian, with a sprinkling of New Zealand friends and family and then some English,” Taylor said.
“We had to get ourselves back in that game. South Africa had just scored 300 there so most of the commentators thought we were crazy because we were scoring quite slowly, but (captain ) Kane Williamson and I are confident that 240-250 would be a competitive total.”
Taylor, who retired from international cricket 18 months ago, predicted that the first 10 of the two innings will be crucial at the run-friendly venue at the Wankhede Stadium.
“They rely heavily on a top three. There’s Shubman Gill, the greatest player in the world, and then Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli,” Taylor said.
“We have to try to get forward and put the middle order under pressure. If you can do that, it stifles them and affects how quickly they can assert their dominance .
“Then, when India are bowling, it’s similar. You want to score runs but it’s also vital that we keep wickets in hand against arms like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami. When they come on the roll, they can be deadly. force, and the spinners can really pile on the pressure.”
Taylor described the match as a “big day” for rising Black Caps star Rachin Ravindra, who has defied his inexperience by amassing 565 tournament runs at an average of 70.6.
“We wanted someone to score a lot in the tournament,” said Taylor.
“I’m not sure a lot of people would have expected it to be Rachin but he really impressed me, not only with the runs he scored but also with the way he went about it, his pace and his composure .
“He’s going out there and batting like he did as a little kid. He hasn’t put any pressure on himself and I hope he continues to do that.”
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