MANCHESTER: New Zealand reached their second World Cup final with a stunning 18-run win over shell-shocked India at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The Black Caps will play hosts England or holders Australia in Sunday s title match at Lord s after pulling off a remarkable triumph against two-time champions India.
New Zealand, beaten in the 2015 final by Australia, were restricted to just 239-8 after completing their 50 overs a day later than expected following the suspension of play due to rain on Tuesday.
But Kane Williamson s side bowled superbly to rock India, with three top-order wickets from paceman Matthew Henry proving the key contribution in dismissing the pre-tournament favourites for 221.
In the first semifinal of ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2019, India cricket team’s famed top-order imploded on a day when it mattered most as a gritty New Zealand cricket team survived a swift counter attack from Ravindra Jadeja to win by 18 runs at The Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday.
Indian top-order had one failure due and much to their horror, the semi-final proved to be their dooms day. Jadeja (77 off 59 balls) used every ounce of his ‘bits and pieces’ skill but the ‘men in blue’ could only get as far as 221 in 49.3 overs in pursuit of 240. New Zealand made it to their second successive final, with credit going to their pacers’ – Matt Henry (3/37) and Trent Boult’s (2/42) – deadly opening spell and Lockie Ferguson’s steely nerve in the penultimate over.
The script was eerily similar to the 2015 World Cup semi-final and just like that evening in Sydney, skipper Virat Kohli was once again out cheaply and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50) was stuck in the middle overs.
Mitchell Santner (2/34) bottled Dhoni up and there was too much left for Jadeja to do even as he smacked four sixes and four boundaries to raise hopes of a turnaround. Call it irony, Dhoni, in what could be his last international innings, was run-out by a direct throw from Martin Guptill.
Kohli (1) looked edgy against Boult, who angled a couple across the Indian captain before bringing his stock delivery that swung in.
KL Rahul (1) has never been comfortable against quality seam and swing bowling. It was no different today as Henry bowled one on the good length that deviated late and the opener failed to take his bat away with Latham taking a diving catch.
At 5 for 3, India have had their worst start of the tournament and it just got even worse when Jimmy Neesham’s outstanding effort at backward point ended Dinesh Karthik’s (6 off 25 balls) misery.
Rishabh Pant (32) and Hardik Pandya (32) then steadied the ship with a 47 run stand with the left-hander hitting some crisp drives through the off-side cordon.
Just when they seemed to have got settled, Pant’s impetuosity cost India dearly as his slog sweep was taken by Colin de Grandhomme off Santner.
The Black Caps, who only qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place on the basis of net run-rate, have lost their last three games – against Pakistan, holders Australia and England.