CWC 2023: “Just the vibe in the group…,” Rahul Dravid confident of India handling knock-out pressure

India will lock horns with New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final in Mumbai on November 15.

India have defeated New Zealand in the league stage of this World Cup | GettyIndia’s performance in the ongoing World Cup has been awe-inspiring, to say the least. The Men in Blue stayed unbeaten in the league stage, beating all their nine opponents comprehensively.

The Rohit Sharma-led side will now face New Zealand in the first semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on November 15.

Notably, Team India haven’t won an ICC tournament for the last 10 years. After MS Dhoni led the side to a Champions Trophy triumph in 2013, India have lost as many as four ICC event finals and bowed out in the semi-finals on numerous occasions.

Ahead of the all-important knockout fixture, head coach Rahul Dravid has expressed confidence in his team’s ability to handle the pressure of the World Cup semi-final.

"I think it would be inauthentic to say it's just another game (the semi-final). I think it's a bit inauthentic. Yes, of course, it's a semi-final. But I think our processes are not going to change. We do recognize that it's an important game; it's a knockout game. We have to accept the fact that there will be a certain amount of pressure," Dravid told the broadcasters after India’s 160-run win over Netherlands in Bangalore on November 12.

"I think the way we have responded to pressure so far gives us a lot of belief and a lot of confidence. I don't think we will change anything in the way we prepare or the way we train. I am really confident; just the vibe in the group and the energy in the group are really good at this point in time. All we can do is play what is in front of us. Staying in the moment. Plan well, prepare well, and play a good game of cricket," he added.

Coming to the match, India won the toss and opted to bat first against Netherlands. Riding on hundreds from Shreyas Iyer (128*) and KL Rahul (102) and half-centuries from Rohit Sharma (61), Shubman Gill (51) and Virat Kohli (51), the hosts piled up a massive 410/4 on the board.

Defending the huge total, the Indian bowlers bundled out the Dutch for 250 in 47.5 overs. Jasprit Bumrah (2-33 in 9 overs), Mohammed Siraj (2-29 in 6 overs), Kuldeep Yadav (2-41 in 10 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-49 in 9 overs) returned with two wickets each.

Dravid was particularly impressed with Iyer's consistent performance in the latter stages of the tournament.

"Shreyas Iyer is the backbone of our middle order, and we all know how tough it has been for us to find a good No. 4 batter for the last 10 years," the coach remarked.


By Salman Anjum - 13 Nov, 2023

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