In anticipation of the pivotal World Cup 2023 semifinal clash between India and New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, the spotlight is on the toss, deemed by many as the most crucial factor. Examining recent matches at the venue reveals a trend where the team batting first emerged victorious in three out of four games.
India, having triumphed in a match at Wankhede during this tournament, holds the advantage, while New Zealand steps onto this Mumbai pitch for the first time in the current World Cup. Despite the statistical narrative favouring the team winning the toss, India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, downplayed its significance.
Reflecting on the four matches played in Mumbai during the tournament, Rohit dismissed the notion that recent outcomes at Wankhede would sway his perspective. Asserting his familiarity with the venue, he emphasized that the last 4-5 games wouldn’t significantly inform his understanding of Wankhede’s dynamics.
Delving into the statistical context, the average first innings score at Wankhede stands at a formidable 357, with only Afghanistan failing to breach the 350-run mark. India’s commanding performance against Sri Lanka, posting 357 for eight, exemplifies the batting potential of this venue.
On the flip side, the average second innings score is a modest 187, with Australia being the sole team to surpass 250 runs. Notable instances include India limiting Sri Lanka to a mere 55 and South Africa bundling out England for 170. Despite these statistical trends, Rohit Sharma remains resolute in his belief that past matches won’t influence the upcoming encounter.
Addressing the media ahead of the high-stakes game, he emphasized his extensive experience at Wankhede, implying a nuanced understanding beyond recent results. Touching upon the spectre of India’s heart-wrenching loss to New Zealand in the 2019 semifinal, Rohit acknowledged the learnings from that defeat.
However, he underscored the evolution of the team, with a different set of players and a distinct setup. Past records, according to Rohit, hold little relevance to the present scenario, as the team aims to forge ahead in the tournament with a renewed focus and determination.