Kane Williamson’s calmness under the high catch of Ravindra Jadeja and Martin Guptill’s lightning direct hit to run out MS Dhoni – two moments of brilliance from New Zealand fielders perfectly encapsulated their performance on the day. With a stunning 18-run win over the favourites Indians at Old Trafford, Manchester in the first semi-final, New Zealand will be playing in their second consecutive World Cup final.
Today, New Zealand resumed their innings to play out the remaining 3.5 overs on the second day of the game. Showing his brilliance in the field, Jadeja first ran out Ross Taylor and then held onto a spectacular catch to send back Tom Latham. Blackcaps lower order tried their best as the side added 28 runs from their last 23 balls. India needed 240 runs to get into the final.
Boult and Henry tear apart the Indian top order
Indian innings resumed within 15 minutes and no one anticipated what eventually took place. First to go was Rohit Sharma, who had creamed three consecutive centuries in his last three innings. Matt Henry sent him back by forcing Rohit to edge one to wicketkeeper Latham. India 4/1.
All hopes were now on Captain Kohli. World’s number one batsman had not scored a century and a high-pressure chase was the perfect situation for him to correct that. But it was not to be. Trent Boult trapped him in front of the stumps with a curling in-swinger. The bowler broke into fanatic celebrations the moment he saw the umpire’s finger going up. Kohli reviewed but the decision stayed with the umpire. India 5/2.
Two balls later, KL Rahul failed to decide whether to play a shot or not and handed another catch to Latham. Henry celebrated his second strike. India 5/3! This was the first time in ODIs that the top three batsmen had scored 1,1 and 1.
Pant and Pandya steady the ship
In such a delicate situation, a 21-year old stepped up. Curbing his attacking instincts, Pant played a mature innings of 32 from 56 balls which helped India stay on the track. He was accompanied first by Dinesh Karthik and then Hardik Pandya. However, the introduction of spin derailed the momentum.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner bowled with immaculate accuracy and kept the pressure on the batting side. He eventually dismissed both the dangerous batsmen. His spell at one stage read 6-2-7-2! When Pandya returned to the pavilion, India were in grave danger at 92/6 in 30.3 overs.
Ravindra Jadeja leads a magical comeback
Even when the target was far away, Jadeja was the first Indian batsman to bat positively. He was keen to run every possible single and jumped out when the opportunities presented themselves. Despite playing out 59 balls, the left-hander was the only Indian batsman whose strike-rate was more than 100. India’s hopes were alive till the moment Jadeja was at the crease. With the win 32 runs away, Jadeja skied the slower ball from Boult which ended his miraculous knock of 77 from 59 balls.
Guptill’s moment of brilliance
Even after Jadeja’s fall, New Zealand had to find a way to counter Dhoni. India needed 31 runs from the last two overs. Lockie Ferguson stepped up to bowl the penultimate over. Dhoni smashed the first ball for a six. It was followed by a dot. Third ball was a short one which the batsman fended with his gloves. Seeing no wicketkeeper at the stumps, Dhoni scampered for a second run. Guptill broke the stumps and also broke India’s dreams of another World Cup final.
All that remained was a formality. India was all out for 221 in the 50th over. New Zealand stormed to an 18-run win. They will now meet the winner of the second semi-final on 14th July at Lord’s.