Can India end knockout jinx and get the monkey off their back?

Rohit Sharma’s squad will be wary of New Zealand, a team which has hurt them the most in ICC tournaments, and are unlikely to drop their guard

By Anis Sajan

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India's Subhman Gill, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli celebrate  during the Cricket World Cup. - AFP File
India's Subhman Gill, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli celebrate during the Cricket World Cup. - AFP File

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 10:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 10:06 PM

Fourty-five league games are done and dusted and we are now at the business end of the World Cup. India Australia and England were expected to make it to the semifinals and the fourth team predicted by the pundits was either Pakistan or New Zealand.

South Africa did make it to the last four playing some good cricket and New Zealand as always find a way to sneak past Pakistan and Afghanistan to make it to yet another semifinal.

The first semifinal is the rematch of the one which happened at Manchester four years ago which happened over two days due to rain. India who had topped the group were outright favourites but were stunned by New Zealand and that broke the hearts of Indian fans who had already booked their tickets for the finals in Lord"s.

India would like to settle the score this time around. They have been on a roll and have been the team to beat having won all their nine games comprehensively. All their batters have scored big runs and their bowlers have been on fire.

But can they get the jinx of a knockout game out of their way?

Before this World Cup, India had made it to the semifinals seven times and lost four times and most importantly lost twice in India. Once in 1987 to England and the other time in 1996 to Sri Lanka. They got past Pakistan in 2011 at Mohali the last time the tournament was played in India and went on to win their second World Cup.

India has not won an ICC trophy since the 2013 Champions Trophy and since then lost the 2014 T20 finals to Sri Lanka, the 2015 ODI semifinals to Australia, the 2016 T20 semifinal to West Indies, the 2017 Champions Trophy finals to Pakistan, the 2019 ODI semifinals to New Zealand and the 2022 T20 World cup semifinals to England.

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They also lost the Test Championship in the finals to New Zealand in 2021 and this year to Australia.

This Indian team has so far played a brand of high-quality cricket which no other Indian team in the past has played and unless India has a bad day in the office, it looks unlikely that they will miss the boat to the finals on November 19. But I am sure Rohit Sharma would be aware of this New Zealand team which has hurt them the most in ICC tournaments and will not drop their guard.


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