India v New Zealand: Cricket World Cup semi-final – live | Cricket World Cup 2023

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Key events

6th over: India 58-0 (Rohit 45, Gill 11) The left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner replaces Tim Southee, who was heavily punished in a spell of 2-0-21-0.

Rohit Sharma continues his wonderful assault, sweeping the second ball for four – it was in the air by wide of short fine leg – and hoicking another huge six over square leg when Santner drops short. He has 45 from 22 balls and may have won the semi-final for India, already.

Since you asked, after six overs of the 2019 semi-final, India were 10/3.

5th over: India 47-0 (Rohit 34, Gill 11) Rohit hooks Boult imperiously for six more. Shubman Gill moves into double figures with a cut shot that is only partially stopped by Phillips. He has 11 from 12 balls, Rohit 34 from 18.

“I was so excited for the game. And then this pitch controversy erupts,” says Arul Kanhere. “If you’re good and can handle pressure you’ll win. That’s that.”

As Rohit is demonstrating right now.

4th over: India 38-0 (Rohit 27, Gill 9) Rohit pulls Southee for four with frightening hand speed. Southee overcompensates on line and length next ball, so Rohit flicks him up asnd over square leg for six more. We grew up associating a great captain’s innings with over-my-dead-body defiance. The world is a different place now and Rohit is playing a very modern captain’s innings: 27 from 15 balls. It’s the clearest possible statement to his team that this is just another game.

Don’t be surprised if we see Mitchell Santner pretty soon. It would be a risk – Australia marmalised him in the first 10 overs – but then any decision is a risk with Rohit in this mood. New Zealand have to take early wickets.

3rd over: India 25-0 (Rohit 16, Gill 8) This is thrilling, assertive batting from Rohit Sharma. He charges Boult, who had just moved round the wicket, and lashes a huge six over extra cover. India have batted too cautiously in recent semi-finals; Rohit is sending the clearest possible message that there is nothing to fear.

On commentary, Nasser Hussain points out that this is probably the time to cash in while the balls are hard. There was a little bit of swing for Boult in the first over but nothing in the second. He pulls the over back quite well after being hit for six, with his last delivery hitting Rohit in the breadbasket.

2nd over: India 18-0 (Rohit 10, Gill 8) Four years ago it was Boult and Matt Henry who demolished India’s top order. Henry has gone home so Tim Southee will take the other new ball today.

He gets some swing as well, but his third ball is too straight and Shubman Gill flicks it crisply through square leg for four. The next ball is inside-edged past leg stump for four more, the first moment of fortune for India in the match. They’re off to another flyer.

In the 2019 semi-final (batting second), it took India 35 balls to reach double figures, by which point they had lost 3 wickets. 2023: 10-0 off 5 balls.

— Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) November 15, 2023

1st over: India 10-0 (Rohit 10, Gill 0) Rohit Sharma sets the tone emphatically, as he has all tournament, by taking 10 from Trent Boult’s first over. He clipped the first ball for two, flicked stylishly over midwicket for four and then belted an off drive for another.

The first boundary was risky, and only just cleared the fielder at short midwicket, but Rohit has been taking calculated risks throughout the tournament. Even with the new ball swinging, Rohit went after Boult. Brilliant captaincy.

Trent Boult will bowl the first over. He’s had a mixed World Cup, with 13 wickets at 32. If ever New Zealand needed a classic Boult new-ball spell, it’s now.

Here come the openers, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. It’s time for India v New Zealand: the sequel.

“Morning Rob,” says Krishnamoorthy V. “In response to Liam (8.07am): India deifies its sports idols and other celebrities. Be it politics, sports, cinema… India has only two settings. You are god and you are trash.”

In the year 2023, that’s definitely not unique to India.

The pundits on Sky Sports – Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Nasser Hussain – think the change of pitch may increase New Zealand’s chances, because batting could be more awkward against the spinners this afternoon. We’ll soon find out.

I’m off to grab a coffee, after which the pitching will stop and the contest will begin. In the meantime, read this cracking piece from Ali Martin on one of the players of the tournament.

“Well, change of pitch controversy they say,” writes Sreekanth Nandakumar. “I’m really confused on what advantage the Indians get. Was it a fast pitch, oh yeah? Bumrah, Shami and Siraj will destroy you. Is it a spinners’ paradise? Kuldeep and Jadeja will get you. It sounds like someone is trying to create a mountain out of a molehill and doing a bad job at that.”

No, that’s not right. Lawrence Booth is a class act, the editor of Wisden and as scrupulous as any journalist I have ever met. The story may amount to nothing, but Booth is not some clickbait clown. If, and it’s a big if, there has been sharp practice and the ICC are too terrified to do anything about it, then what’s the point of a World Cup? We do agree on one thing though: India are so good that there’s no need for them to manipulate conditions.

“As a Black Caps supporter, I’m caught in two minds about today’s match,” says Liam Wallace. “On the one hand it would be fantastic for this side to eke out another victory against the odds. Also, it would be just a little bit funny if India were knocked out after being clearly the superior team at this World Cup.

“But I find the Indian side to be quite likeable and it’s hard to imagine the pressure they must be under from their fans who (understandably) expect that they will win the tournament. It would be quite a shame if they were to lose, especially as the backlash is unlikely to be proportional to their overall performance at this World Cup.”

Team news

Both teams are unchanged. Next!

India Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.

New Zealand Conway, Ravindra, Williamson (c), Mitchell, Latham (wk), Phillips, Chapman, Santner, Southee, Ferguson, Boult.

India win the toss and bat

“Looks like a good pitch, looks on the slower side,” says Rohit Sharma. “We understand that, whatever we do, we have to do it well.”

Kane Williamson says he would have batted as well.

Barney Ronay’s preview

What to do at the toss

Rohit Sharma says it doesn’t matter, and India’s record this year backs him up: 12 wins and two defeats batting first, 12 wins and three defeats batting second. But the new balls have done plenty under the lights on this ground throughout the World Cup, so the template for New Zealand is offensively obvious: bat first, post a par score and then run through India’s top order in the first 10 overs. Just like they did in the 2019 semi-final.

The pitch switch complicates things a little, not least because there will now be a short boundary on one side. But it still feels like a bat-first day.

The first controversy of the day

Our old friend Lawrence Booth reports that today’s game has been switched to a used surface, which should aid India’s superior spinners, apparently to the dissatisfaction of the ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson.

If true – and I really can’t stress the word ‘if’ enough, because ultimately we don’t know – it’s dispiriting and unacceptable. It would also be a bit weird: India are so good that there really is no need for them to manipulate anything, except maybe the seam.

It’s worth stressing that last year’s T20 semi-finals were played on used pitches, so this might be something about nothing. It all depends on who made the decision to change pitches at the last minute, and why.

My story about India’s pitch switch ahead of today’s semi-final v NZ in Mumbai. It was supposed to be played on a fresh surface. Instead, it’s been moved to a pitch already used twice. ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson is not happy. Same could happen for the final. https://t.co/k5rrIjh3ZX

— Lawrence Booth (@BoothCricket) November 15, 2023

Preamble

Hello and welcome to live, over-by-over coverage of the World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand in Mumbai. In a sense this is the first game of India’s World Cup campaign. They were always going to breeze through the group stages – even if few expected them to do so in such awesome fashion – and it was always going to come down to this: two knockout games in which they will either affirm their superiority or extend their trophy drought.

India won nine out of nine in the league stage, pulverising almost every opponent and playing some of the most irresistible ODI cricket ever seen. It’s pretty simple: if they maintain that standard, they will win the World Cup.

Few people give New Zealand a prayer today, even though they are the team who ran India closest in the league stage. But this might be where things get interesting. For the first time in the tournament defeat is unthinkable for India, and that can do funny things to the old thought process.

There are echoes of the 2019 World Cup, when India were big favourites to beat New Zealand in the semi-final and lost a thriller by 18 runs. That’s one of eight defeats in their last 10 knockout games at ICC tournaments, many through cautious or nervous batting. The only two victories came against Bangladesh. South Africa were called chokers for less in the 1990s.

The 2013 Champions Trophy was India’s last major triumph. But 10 years of (relative) failure feel less significant than 10 months of spectacular form: India have won 24 of their 29 ODIs this year. They do have weaknesses – no sixth bowler, a long tail – but the specialists have done their jobs so magnificently that nobody has been able to expose them.

India look nigh-on unbeatable. But New Zealand, serial achievers who are about to play a record ninth World Cup semi-final, know from experience that there is no such thing.

The match starts at 8.30am GMT, 2pm in Mumbai.





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