ICC World Cup: New Zealand stun India to reach the World Final
The 2019 World Cup semi-final featured two teams with contrasting form heading into the fixture. India topped the group stages with one loss. New Zealand finished fourth after losing their last three league games on the trot to Pakistan, Australia, and England. India were overwhelming favorites for the fixture and rightly so. Form batsmen, form bowlers, and the support of a billion people were all in their favor. However, their campaign came to a dramatic end at the hands of Kane Williamson’s men.
The game went for 2 days because of the wet weather that Manchester offered. New Zealand finished the 1st day of the semi on 5/211. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson stitched, what turned out to be a match-winning partnership with a 65-run stand for the third wicket.
Although the partnership came off 102 balls, the partnership helped keep the Blackcaps in the hunt. The pitch was quite a tricky pitch to bat on and life was difficult for new batsmen at the crease. India bowled well with each of the bowlers picking up one wicket apiece.
The play would resume on the reserve day, which was Wednesday 10th of June 2019, adding a further 28 runs. They lost 3 more wickets from their remaining 3.5 overs and ended their innings on 239/8 from 50 overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3/43. Ravindra Jadeja had a splendid time in the field snaring figures of 1/34 of his 10 overs with 1 maiden. He also took two catches and pulled off a stunning run out from the deep. For New Zealand, Taylor and Williamson both scored gritty half-centuries to get New Zealand to a competitive score on a tough pitch.
India had to chase 240 off 50 overs to reach their 4th World Cup final. They got off to a horrible start. They were 5/3 after 6 overs and were 24/4 after 10 overs. Jimmy Neesham took a one-handed ripper to get rid of Dinesh Karthik for 8. Matt Henry removed the Indian top three.
However, it was Kiwi spearhead, Trent Boult, who picked up the big wicket of Virat Kohli for one. Kohli has scores of 9, 1, and 1 in the three World Cup semi-final appearances until date. The ball struck Kohli LBW for 1. He reviewed the decision and an umpire’s call gave New Zealand the big wicket of Kohli.
The top three batsmen of India all went for one. Although Neesham dropped a sitter off Rishabh Pant, New Zealand was still in control of the game. Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya both fell to the guile of left-arm spinner, Mitchell Santner when the score was 71 and 92. After 30.3 overs, New Zealand had India reeling at 92/6 off 30.3 overs.
Then, ensued a brilliant 116-run partnership between all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja and Indian great, MS Dhoni off 104 balls. Jadeja played a blinder of 77 runs off 59 balls with 4 fours and sixes. MS Dhoni played well for his 50 off 72 balls. New Zealand was desperate for a wicket and Trent Boult delivered for New Zealand. Trent Boult picked up Jadeja. The game changed from there. One could sense the shift in momentum to New Zealand when Jadeja departed in the 47th over. Then came the penultimate over. Dhoni smashed the first ball for six.
Then Martin Guptill ran Dhoni out of the next ball. Guptill ran in from the boundary and hit the stumps. It was an excellent display of fielding from the New Zealand opening batsman. Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith had great moments in the commentary box.
His commentary was full of passion. Smith’s words of “is this the World Cup?” will resonate with Kiwi cricket fans and many cricket fans for a long time. Ferguson then cleaned up Bhuvaneshwar with a slower delivery, and Jimmy Neesham removed Chahal in the final over to give New Zealand a major victory. Tom Latham took the catch and New Zealand on the match by 18 runs.
The Blackcaps reached their second consecutive World Cup final. India, well another ICC tournament knockout phase departure. That also to go along with two final defeats to sub-continent neighbors, Sri Lanka in the 2014 ICC World T20 and Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
The times ahead for the two nations will be interesting. Both teams will fancy their chances at this year’s T20 World Cup and also the Test Championship.