724 runs were scored in an outstanding game of cricket in the first semi-final of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup between India and New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday, November 15. On an apparently slow wicket, Team India posted a massive score of 397 runs owing to Virat Kohli’s record-breaking century and Shreyas Iyer’s second consecutive ton while New Zealand too gave a tough fight scoring 327 runs with Daryl Mitchell scoring his second century against the Men in Blue in the tournament.
The pitch played extremely well despite it being a used surface. The pitch was changed last minute from a fresh to a used one with reports suggesting that it was done deliberately by the home board with Andy Atkinson, an independent pitch consultant being frustrated by several similar requests of change from the pre-agreed plan throughout the tournament. After the match, Sunil Gavaskar was really frustrated with the reports and the naysayers alleging foul play and came down heavily with an angry rant calling it ‘nonsense’.
Speaking on Star Sports after the game, Gavaskar said, “When India reaches the final of any multi-nation tournament, it is always a matter of great pride and if it is the World Cup, it’s that much more special. India have done it in style. They scored close to 400 runs and had that extra 70-80 runs cushion. This has been such a wonderful pitch. We’ve got more than 700 runs scored on this.
“All the morons who were talking about the pitch change. Just stop. Stop taking potshots at Indian cricket. People have said a lot of things to attract eyeballs or whatever it is. It’s all nonsense. The pitch was there and even if it was changed, it was there before the toss for both the teams. It was not changed in the middle of the innings. It was not changed after the toss was done. If you are a good enough team, you play on that pitch and you win. India has done that. So stop talking about pitches. Already they are talking about Ahmedabad and the second semifinal hasn’t even taken place. They are talking about the pitch being changed in Ahmedabad. Nonsense,” Gavaskar further added.
The ICC in its clarification mentioned that changes in pitch, especially at the business end of such a long tournament is normal and happened on the recommendation of the curator while Atkinson, the pitch consultant was aware of the same. The Men in Blue defended a 397-run total by 70 runs with Mohammed Shami registering the best figures by an Indian bowler in ODIs.
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