After dominating the round-robin phase flawlessly, India geared up for an epic semi-final clash against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium, a repeat of the crucial match from 2019. However, just before the anticipated showdown commenced, an unexpected twist surfaced with regards to the playing surface.
Initially, reports suggested that the plan was to utilize a central pitch, unused thus far in the ongoing tournament but significant in the 2011 World Cup’s final showdown. However, on the day of the match, the decision veered towards an off-center pitch, previously hosting two World Cup games:
South Africa vs. England on October 21 and India vs. Sri Lanka on November 2, where the hosts secured a massive 302-run victory.
Consequently, the pitch showcased several bare patches, expected to favor spinners, with minimal grass cover to maintain Wankhede’s traditional batting-friendly essence.
So, pitch changed for the SF last minute… This is fixing. pic.twitter.com/Hnl5UUOmD3— Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) November 15, 2023
An ICC spokesperson clarified, “Modifications in planned pitch rotations occur commonly towards the end of a lengthy event, as it has happened a few times before. This change was advised by the venue curator in collaboration with our host. The ICC independent pitch consultant was informed of the alteration and has no doubts regarding the pitch’s quality for gameplay.”