MUMBAI: New Zealand cricketers Rachin Ravindra (L) and Lockie Ferguson enjoy a light moment during a training session at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.—AFP
MUMBAI: New Zealand cricketers Rachin Ravindra (L) and Lockie Ferguson enjoy a light moment during a training session at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.—AFP

MUMBAI: Lockie Ferguson insisted New Zealand’s rocky road to a World Cup semi-final against in-form India in Mumbai on Wednesday was of no concern as “we all start from zero again”.

Tournament hosts India have been the form side of the 10-team event, winning all nine of their group matches, as they bid for a third World Cup title and second on home soil following their 2011 final triumph over Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

New Zealand by contrast, won their opening four games of the round-robin stage only to lose the next four before ending pool play with a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

The Black Caps may not have yet won a men’s one-day international World Cup but they are proven tournament performers, having reached both the 2015 and 2019 finals, with Wednesday’s match their ninth semi-final appearance in the 13-edition history of the competition.

“We had a couple of close games I guess that didn’t quite go our way,” New Zealand fast bowler Ferguson told reporters at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

“And a rain-affected one [where New Zealand were beaten on the DLS method by Pakistan despite scoring over 400 themselves].”

He added: “But I guess from our point of view those nine games have got us to this position and we kind of all start from zero again. So come Wednesday, it’ll be a good challenge.”

India have steamrollered several opponents on their way to a last-four clash at captain Rohit Sharma’s home ground.

But they were made to work for their four-wicket win over New Zealand, with Daryl Mitchell scoring 130 in a total of 273, before India made 274-6 in reply to win with two overs to spare.

New Zealand might have scored over 300 had it not been for in-form paceman Mohammed Shami’s return of 5-54.

“It’s a strong attack,” said Ferguson, who played alongside Shami at Indian Premier League side Gujarat.

But Ferguson, top of New Zealand’s tournament bowling averages with 10 wickets at under 24 apiece, said: “I think all four teams in the knockout stages [Australia and South Africa meet in Thursday’s second semi-final in Kolkata] have got a very good pace attack, with good spinners.”

He added: “It was a hard-fought game [against India].

“Playing India, there’s a lot of ebbs and flows. It’s not going to be any different come this game. We’ve just got to tighten up as much as we can.”

New Zealand caused India’s World Cup downfall in England four years ago, winning by just 18 runs in a Manchester semi-final spanning two days because of rain.

“I’ve never played a one-day game over two days, it was literally not even in the title,” said the 32-year-old Ferguson, one of several survivors from that match who are set to be involved in this week’s last-four clash.

“That was obviously very pleasing for us at the time but four years have gone past, we’ve played a lot of cricket in between and both teams I’m sure are raring to go come Wednesday.”

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2023

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