By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) – India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat in the first World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
The venue, where India won their last 50-overs World Cup title, has hosted four day-night contests so far at this tournament with three of those being won by the team batting first.
Australia were the only team to win batting second at the ground after Glenn Maxwell hit an unbeaten double hundred.
“It looks like a good pitch, on the slower side as well but whatever we do, we know we’ve got to do that well,” Sharma said at the toss.
For Wednesday’s contest, both India and New Zealand were unchanged from their previous match.
India have looked invincible so far, winning all nine of their round robin matches including a four-wicket victory over the Black Caps in Dharamsala.
New Zealand, however, defeated India at the same stage of the 2019 edition.
“It was way back in 2019 that we played that semi-final, New Zealand have been one of the most consistent team over the years and it’s going to be a good contest,” Sharma added.
“It’s a very important day. I’ve been constantly talking about how important it is to turn up on the day and forget what has happened in the past.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said he would have batted first as well.
“It’s obviously a used surface but we’ll try to make use of it with the ball first up and hopefully there’s some dew later,” Williamson said.
“It’s an amazing occasion. We’re looking forward to the challenge ahead – it’s a stiff one, they’ve been playing some great cricket, but we have as well.”
Australia and South Africa will meet in the second semi-final at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, with the final to be held on Sunday in Ahmedabad.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (captain), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitch Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)