Cricket World Cup: Devon Conway making up for lost time as Blackcaps reach another semi-final

After being made to wait to make his international debut for the Blackcaps, Devon Conway has managed to cram a lot into a short space of time.

Since his debut in late 2020, Conway and the Blackcaps have reached the semi-final stage of every global tournament they've played in.

In 2021, Conway was part of the Blackcaps side that claimed the inaugural World Test Championship title, before reaching the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE later that same year.

Last year, the Blackcaps doubled up and reached the semi-finals of the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, with Conway being an ever-present fixture at the top of the order.

Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra celebrate.
Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra celebrate. Photo credit: Getty Images

Now, in his first 50-over Cricket World Cup campaign, the 32-year-old will play another semi-final, when the Blackcaps meet hosts India at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday night.

At 32, Conway is hardly the stereotypical World Cup debutant, after having to serve a four-year standdown period to qualify for New Zealand after migrating from South Africa. 

And as a rookie - in terms of World Cup experience as opposed to age - Conway is relishing his time at his first showpiece tournament.

"It's been very exciting," said Conway. "With it being my first ODI World Cup, there's been quite a lot of challenges in a different format.

"I've certainly thoroughly enjoyed my time here with the guys. We've played some really good cricket.

"It's exciting to be in this position."

While Conway may be in unfamiliar territory in his first World Cup semi-final, the Blackcaps certainly aren't.

Wednesday's encounter against India represents New Zealand's fifth successive trip to a World Cup semi-final, making the last four of every tournament since 2007.  

What's more, eight of the players in the Blackcaps' 15-man squad were present four years ago, in the cruel final defeat to England, decided on boundary countback after a tie.

That experience, Conway says, is telling come the pointy end of this year's tournament.

Devon Conway against England.
Devon Conway against England. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We can acknowledge this is another special occasion for us," he continued. "We're fortunate enough to have a lot of experience in our camp, guys who have been in these situations before. We can lean on those guys.

"It's great to be in this position... It is one of our goals to be in the World Cup final.

"It's nice to be one step closer to that goal, everyone is very excited. 

"We've been playing some good cricket. For us, it's about continuing to do what we do. The rest will take care of itself."

Standing between the Blackcaps and the final, though, are India.

The hosts are the only unbeaten side left in the tournament and have won nine straight games including a four-wicket win over the Blackcaps last month.  

But if there's one team the hosts will fear, it's New Zealand.  

The Blackcaps have been happy to play spoilsports to India in global competitions.  

In 2019, New Zealand sent India packing from the World Cup in England at the same stage.   

Two years later, the Blackcaps conquered India twice again, winning the World Test Championship, and ending their Twenty20 World Cup hopes in the Super 12 stage.  

This time around, though, the Blackcaps know the scale of the task they're faced with.   

"We all know how good India are," said Conway. "They're carrying a lot of momentum, they have a strong squad.

"But we're looking forward to that challenge. It's exciting for us to play against the host nation.  

"We know they're going to be a threat, but we're looking forward to that challenge."  

Join Newshub for live updates of the Cricket World Cup semi-final between the Blackcaps and India from 9:30pm Wednesday