New Zealand has ended India’s World Cup dream. It was a humdinger at the Old Trafford courtesy a stunning fighting stand between Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni. But in the end, it was a game of margins. Martin Guptill affected a game-changing run-out to send back the veteran, who had done it before all his career, to end India’s hopes. Jadeja too played a knock of his life. He scored 77 runs off just 59 balls but it couldn’t win his team a crunch game.
The Black Caps bowled well upfront to rock India and reduce them to 5/3 in the first five overs itself. Here on it was going to be a mountain to climb for the Men in Blue. It soon became 24/4 and the target looked so far. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya stitched a partnership then but they were too slow and the situation demanded the same. But both of them got out to Mitchell Santner to throw away their wicket.
At 92/6, India looked down and out. But Jadeja and Dhoni had different ideas. They, especially Jadeja, started to attack the Kiwis and took the game deep as well. The 116-run partnership ignited the hopes for India. But alas! It was not to be for the Men in Blue in the end as they fell 18 runs short of the target.
New Zealand put just enough on the board
Earlier on Tuesday, New Zealand opted to bat first after winning the toss. But they lost their struggling opener, Martin Guptill, too early thanks to Jasprit Bumrah. There were a couple of partnerships then, first between Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls and then between the former and Ross Taylor. But the scoring rate never threatened to go up. It was only in the last 10 overs that they scored 83 runs and went on to post 239 runs after 50 overs.
The half-centuries from two of their best batsmen Williamson and Taylor proved to be match-winning in the end. They have qualified for the second consecutive World Cup final and the dream is still alive for them and would love to cross the line this time after coming second against Australia four years ago.
Man of the Match, Matt Henry said:
In the break, we talked about making sure we do the best we can and play the way we wanted to play. We started well with the ball and created a lot of pressure. We had to ask a lot of questions against that world-class batting line-up.
We knew we had to create pressure against that batting line-up but we also knew that this was a difficult wicket to bat on and it was holding up a little bit. We brought ourselves on and if we could create a few early chances, anything could happen.
Hardik and Dhoni, the way they batted with Jadeja to come in, we know they are world-class finishers. We needed to finish off well and get them out before it went too deep. Very special to earn ourselves a Lord’s final, thanks to all the New Zealand supporters out there. We are looking forward to the final on Sunday.
New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson said:
It’s a different feeling, to be fair. The surfaces and the way we had to skin it, has been different to the last World Cup we experienced. Have a really good bunch of guys. A tough game, tough semifinal and really pleased to be on the right side of things.
It was really tough. We had to assess conditions quickly and I think both sides felt that it wasn’t a high-scoring track. We thought that 240-250 will help us to put India under pressure. The guys were able to do that in the middle and at the back end without going too hard.
Lot of it was on the conditions, with the rain around yesterday and whether it changed the conditions. With the new ball, our bowlers try to move the ball off the seam or in the air. Need to put pressure on that world class batting line-up of India.
We knew that when the track slowed down, we had to squeeze. They showed why they are a world class side when they took it really deep to a position where they could have won it through MS and Jadeja. Our character was tested and we came out on top.
We’ve seen conditions be really tricky at times and in some games, we didn’t play our best cricket but guys weren’t disheartened and backed ourselves. On a particular day, anything can happen and it was a game of small margins. Pleased to come across the line. Indian supporters have been really good.
India captain, Virat Kohli said:
The first half, we were very, very good. With the ball, in the field, we were spot on. We got what we needed at that point. We thought we had restricted New Zealand to a chaseable score on any surface but the way they come out with the ball in the first half-an-hour was what made the difference.
We knew we had a good day yesterday and were proud of it. Had a good time in the morning today as well and we had momentum with us. Credit to the New Zealand bowlers, they were really good with the new ball and hit the right areas. I think it was the skill level on display (from NZ bowlers) was there for all to see.
I think Jadeja had a really good couple of games and it’s his performance today that’s a huge positive for his skill-set. MS had a good partnership with him, and again a game of small margins, run out by a small margin. Always feels bad when you play well all tournament and then 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out.
New Zealand deserve it, they put us under more pressure. At times, I think our shot-selection could have been better. Otherwise, we played a really good brand of cricket. Really proud of the way we competed throughout the tournament.
As I said, come the knockouts, it’s anyone’s game and New Zealand showed more composure. They were braver than us and deserve to win. Thanks to all the fans, thanks for coming out in huge numbers.
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