All-round New Zealand ended India’s campaign at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as they beat the Men in Blue by 18 runs in the first semi-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Chasing a moderate target of 240 runs, India got off to a horrendous start as New Zealand rattled the top-order. Matt Henry got Rohit Sharma (1) caught behind while Virat Kohli (1) got leg-before off Trent Boult’s delivery. Henry returned and engulfed KL Rahul (1), who was also caught behind. Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik tried to settle in and played cautiously. However, New Zealand piled on the misery as Jimmy Neesham caught a brilliant catch in the gully to see off Karthik (6) off Henry. Pant found support in Hardik Pandya and the duo added 47 runs for the fifth wicket.
Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson brought in Mitchell Santner and the latter did not disappoint as the spinner dismissed Pant (32). Santner returned and sent Pandya (32) back to the pavilion, reducing India to 92/6 after 30.3 overs.
MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja rebuild India’s innings as the duo added 116 runs. Dhoni assumed the role of second fiddle to Jadeja, who played aggressive shots from ball one and along the way completed his fifty. Boult tilted the table and again put India under pressure as dismissed Jadeja (77), who played a skier and gave a comfortable catch to Williamson at long off.
As the onus shifted on Dhoni, Martin Guptill pulled off a brilliant run out and dismissed Dhoni (50).
When India needed 24 runs off nine balls, Lockie Ferguson bowled Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a duck and Neesham completed the formalities as he got Yuzvendra Chahal (5) caught behind. India wrapped up on 221 after 49.3 overs.
Earlier, Ross Taylor and Williamson dragged New Zealand to post 239 runs for the loss of eight wickets in a rain-hit innings after electing to bat first.
On the reserve day, Taylor and Tom Latham, who were stranded on 67 and 3 after 46.1 overs on Tuesday due to rain interruption, tried to carry forward the innings at 211/5. However, India had another plan as Jadeja run out Taylor (74) off Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery.
The tail-enders added 28 runs to the scoreboard to finally finish their 50-over quota. Along the way, New Zealand two more wickets as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of Latham (10) and Matt Henry (1). Boult and Santner remained unbeaten on 3 and 9, respectively.
On Tuesday, Bhuvneshwar opened the innings with the new ball and appealed for a leg-before on the very first delivery to Guptill. India lost its review as on the replays it clearly showed that the ball missed the leg stump.
Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah kept the things tight for New Zealand batsmen and did not let the Kiwis open their arms. In the fourth over, Bumrah struck for India as Guptill (1) gave a catch to Kohli at second slip. Williamson came out to bat and along with Henry Nicholls rebuild the innings, adding 68 for the first wicket.
Indian bowlers made no mistake in leaking runs. Jadeja gave another hiccup to New Zealand as he bowled Nicholls (28), reducing New Zealand to 69/2 after 18.2 overs.
Williamson found support in Taylor and the duo played aggressive shots with caution, knowing the onus was on them.
Williamson smoothly completed his half-century from 79 balls. On the second ball of the 36th over, Yuzvendra Chahal got the major breakthrough for India as he dismissed Williamson for a well-compiled 67. The Kiwi skipper gave a catch to Jadeja at point, leaving New Zealand at 134/3.
There were some misfieldings by team India, however, Pandya covered up for the Men in Blue as he removed James Neesham (12). Bhuvneshwar returned and got Colin de Grandhomme (16) caught behind, reducing New Zealand to 200/5 after 44.4 overs.
For India, Bhuvneshwar was the pick of bowlers as he returned with three wickets in his 10 overs quota, including one maiden over, and conceded just 43 runs.
Brief scores: New Zealand 239/8 (Ross Taylor 74, Kane Williamson 67, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-43) beat India 221 (Ravindra Jadeja 77, MS Dhoni 50, Matt Henry 3-37) by 18 runs. (ANI)