India coach Rahul Dravid says he backs the “vibe and energy” in his team as they plot World Cup semi-final revenge over New Zealand on Wednesday.
Four years ago, New Zealand defeated India in the last-four by just 18 runs in a game which stretched across two days due to rain.
That loss extended India’s wait for a third World Cup title after 1983 and their 2011 triumph on home ground.
Five of the men who featured in the 2019 semi-final in Manchester – Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja – will play in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“When it’s going well it looks good. One loss and everyone says ‘you don’t know anything’,” said Dravid on Sunday after India trounced Netherlands by 160 runs to complete a perfect group stage of nine wins in nine matches.
“I think we will be inauthentic if we say ‘it’s just another game’. Yes, of course it’s the semi-final, but I think our processes and what we have done in each and every game is not going to change.
“There is going to be certain amount of pressure but I think the way we have responded to the pressure so far gives us lot of belief and lot of confidence. I am confident of the vibe and energy in the group.”
In 2019, India were set a modest target of 240 to beat New Zealand but they lost their last four wickets for just 13 runs.
There was no shortage of runs on Sunday as all of India’s top five batsmen scored 50 and above.
Skipper Rohit Sharma made 61 with Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli both hitting 51 before a 208-run stand followed between Shreyas Iyer (128 not out) and KL Rahul (102) which steered the team to 410-4.
“I think our middle-order has been fantastic,” Dravid told broadcasters Star Sports.
“Obviously the top-order is the one that gets to bat all the time and has been scoring a lot of runs for us and look at the leaderboard on numbers you’ll see the Kohlis and the Sharmas and rightly so, batting fantastically.”
He added: “For them to be batting the way the they are, whether it’s been Shreyas, whether it’s been KL, and even Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja), even Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) just gives us that confidence that we have got that experience.
“We have got that ability and we have also got them in form and playing really well getting to the semi-final.”
Kohli leads the tournament batting charts with 594 runs, followed by South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (591), Rachin Ravindra of New Zealand (565) and Rohit (503).
Iyer, who came into Sunday’s game on the back of scores of 82 and 77, now has 421 runs at a strike-rate of over hundred.
He battled cramps in a 94-ball innings, laced with 10 fours and five sixes to be named man of the match.
“I got a deja vu, this happened with Australia too, and I threw my wicket away. Today, I wanted to be not out,” said Iyer, who returned to the team in September after recovering from a back injury.
“I took pills for the cramps. I feel the recent scores helped me in this innings.”