The chosen ones were given all the support they needed to live up to their full potential, which is why Suryakumar Yadav finally looks like he belongs in ODI cricket. Off the field, India were doing even better. The success of this campaign – and it is already a success – was built in the doctor’s offices and the gyms and the training sessions that enabled Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer to come back from injury without losing a shred of their ability to the doubt that their bodies might break down again if they pushed it too hard.
Rohit Sharma and his predecessor Virat Kohli have often pointed to a record of sustained excellence whenever they were faced with questions around the lack of ICC trophies since 2013. Whether the drought ends in a week’s time or not, the gains this team has made – the freedom with which they bat, the discipline with which they bowl, the trust they have in themselves and their method, the joy they have spread – already feel historic.
Except a cagey start. Each team trying ever so hard not to make the first mistake, trying not so much to beat the opposition as just outlasting them. New Zealand are masters at this art; at just staying in the game long enough until there is an opening to burst through.
India: WWWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
New Zealand: WLLLL
In the spotlight: Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult
Nether India nor New Zealand will be looking to shuffle up their packs. Lockie Ferguson has been managing an Achilles injury throughout the tournament, the Black Caps coach Gary Stead told Sky Sport NZ but he also added that the fast bowler should be good to play the semi-final. On the eve of the game, Williamson confirmed that all the players in their squad were fit and available for selection.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj
New Zealand (probable): 1 Devon Conway, 2 Rachin Ravindra, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 Mark Chapman, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
It’s been fun to bat in the first innings at Wankhede stadium and then fun again after 20 overs of the chase is done. The in-between period is when the quicks have wreaked havoc. The weather is set fair and even if not there is a reserve day for the semi-final.
“I’ve never played a one-day game over two days, it was literally not even in the title. So, I think playing that game was pretty incredible and obviously very pleasing for us at the time but four years have gone past.”
Lockie Ferguson looks back at the 2019 World Cup semi-final