Rohit Sharma recalls 'scary hours' after India dump NZ out of WC to enter final | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'Had to stay calm. Crowd went silent': Rohit Sharma recalls 'scary hours' after India dump NZ out of WC to enter final

By, New Delhi
Nov 16, 2023 06:10 AM IST

In conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar, India skipper Rohit Sharma lauded New Zealand batters Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell.

After guiding India to its fourth final of the ICC World Cup, skipper Rohit Sharma admitted that his men were under the pump in the semi-final showdown against New Zealand. Over the years, Kane Williamson's New Zealand side has been the bogey team of the Men In Blue in ICC events. The Black Caps ended India's impressive run at the World Cup by defeating the Asian giants in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup.

Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 first semi-final match between India and New Zealand(PTI)
Rohit Sharma during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 first semi-final match between India and New Zealand(PTI)

With New Zealand reaching 220-3 in 32 overs, many feared that the Kiwis would shatter a billion hearts at the Wankhede by handing India another painful semi-final exit. However, India sparked a turnaround with pacer Mohammed Shami, who eventually bagged seven wickets to seal a famous win for Rohit's men. Speedster Shami took a 7-57 as New Zealand folded for 327 in 48.5 overs to lose the semi-final by 70 runs.

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After India recorded an epic semi-final win at the Wankhede, local hero Rohit confessed that the World Cup hosts were a bit sloppy on the field. Speaking to former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar in the post-match presentation ceremony, Rohit also recalled the scary hours when New Zealand batters Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell managed to motor along at jet speed. Williamson (69) and Mitchell (134) stitched Kiwis’ record third wicket partnership (181) before pacer Shami destroyed New Zealand's hopes at Mumbai.

'Crowd went silent'

“We knew there'd be pressure on us. We were calm even though we were a bit sloppy on the field. These things are bound to happen, glad that we could get the job done. When the scoring rate is above 9, you gotta take chances. They gave us chances, but we didn't take them. Mitchell and Williamson batted brilliantly. We had to stay calm. The crowd went silent, that's the nature of the game. We knew we had to pull something from our sleeves,” Rohit said.

Pacer Shami shattered Stuart Binny's record for best bowling figures in One Day International (ODI) at the World Cup semi-finals. He is also the first bowler to record a seven-wicket haul in a knockout game of the ODI World Cup. Besides showering praise on match-winner Shami, India skipper Rohit hailed premier batters Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and run machine Kohli for their crucial knocks against the Black Caps.

'We tried everything and Shami…'

“We tried everything and Shami was brilliant. The top five-six batters, they have made it count. Very pleased with what Iyer has done in this tournament. Gill, the way he batted upfront was brilliant, unfortunately, he had to return back. Kohli, as usual, was brilliant, played his trademark innings and got to his landmark. All in all, the batting was superb. That's the template we want to move with,” Rohit added.

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