Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju joined those who sent their wishes to the Indian cricket team ahead of the World Cup 2019 semi-final, to be played at Old Trafford in Manchester today.
India will be meeting New Zealand in what is anticipated to be a high-powered contest with Virat Kohli's team seeking to become the fourth Indian team to enter the final of this premier cricket tournament and lift the coveted trophy for the third time.
"I have sent my good wishes to the Indian cricket team and I am hopeful they will perform well," Mr Rijiju told news agency ANI. He also tweeted his letter to Ravi Shastri, India's head coach, Virat Kohli and his team.
"A billion cheers galore as you go into play in the semi-finals, hoping that this success continues through to the final, and you bring home the World Cup," Mr Rijiju wrote in his letter.
On Sunday, Mr Rijiju had said that he is "extremely optimistic" that India will lift the cup for the third time. He had congratulated the team when it reached the semi-finals last week.
In a letter addressed to Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli and Team India, Mr Rijiju had said the team is the nation's pride and everyone across the country is celebrating their success.
"I have already sent my official greetings to the coach and Indian team. Since India is already there in the semi-finals, we hope and looking at the performance of our players, we are extremely optimistic and hopeful that India will be able to lift the World Cup once again and will bring the World Cup back home for the third time," the minister had said.
India have won the World Cup twice - in 1983 and in 2011 - whereas New Zealand are yet to lift the trophy. Along with the West Indies team, India is the second most successful team in World Cup history.
India entered the semi-final with winning momentum behind their back as they won their last two matches. On the other hand, the Kiwis lost their last two matches and they would look to change their fortunes around.
(With inputs from ANI)
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