Silky New Zealand Shocked and Rocked Tournament Favorite India
An excellent exhibition of penetrative bowling and top of the world fielding led losing finalist of 2015 world cup New Zealand knocking out tournament favorite India.
New Zealand playing this ODI over two days for rain interruption could put up a modest score of 239/8. Many thought for mighty India having some of the best and inform batsmen in the world and batting deep it would be a cake walk.
But a little Tsunami created by Henry and Boult reducing India to 4/24 by the 10th over put paid to Indian dream of appearing at Lords for another crack at the trophy. Would one believe it? Rohit, Virat and Rahul were gone by the 4th over with only 5 on board.
The cricket pride of mighty India was bruised and battered. Tiny Kiwis moved into the final and would wait for a date with the winners of today’s mini Ashes between Australia and England.
Some analyst thought New Zealand as lucky qualifier piping Pakistan to the post for better run rate. Many thought they will be soft opponent for the top of the table team India. That thought gathered moss after New Zealand crawled to 211/5 in 46.1 overs on rain halted 9th July.
The match moved to the reserve day. In the morning while reviewing Sanjay Manjrekar, VVS Laxman and Sourav thought even if New Zealand finish at 250 it would be cake walk for India. New Zealand finished at 239/8.
It could be more if not two brilliant pieces of smart fielding by the man of the day Ravindra Jadeja did not account for Santner and Taylor, He took an excellent catch in the deep of Santner off the bowling of Kumar. Very next ball he spectacularly ran out Taylor with a direct throw.
On day one Kiwi Captain Williamson (67) pairing effectively with Taylor took the score to 211 /5 against some smart bowling of Kumar, Bumrah, Jadeja and Chahal. Rain came and the match was suspended till the reserve day.
We are not sure which team slept well that night. But definitely what followed on 10 July was never dreamt by any one anywhere in the world.
True 240 was a soft target. The wicket had pace and something assisting lateral movement. Henry and Boult bowled fast and on full length. Rohit and Rahul despite of their brilliance have genuine weakness against fast moving full deliveries.
Getting India rocking at 3/5 with Rohit, Virat and Rahul gone was even more than dream coming through for the Kiwis. Virat made a strategic mistake at this point. Punt and Pandya despite of their brilliance are very raw. The team had a genuine champion batsman appearing in his last World Cup. Dhoni has over 50 average in ODI and wealth of experience.
On this day in the given situation he was the horse for the course. Not that Pant (32) and Pandya (32) did not try. But the pressure of a World Cup semi final got in to them. All Kiwi bowlers bowled exceedingly well and the fielding was razor sharp. By the time Dhoni and Jadeja railed with a 118 runs 7th wicket rally it was a bit too late.
Jadeja was superb in his 59 balls 77 striking 4 fours and 4 sixes. Dhoni bowed out from world event scoring a patient 50 before falling to a spectacular run out by Guptill. It was a combination of brilliant bowling by Henry (3/37 , Santner 2/34 , Boult 2/42 ), smart and agile fielding and cool leadership by Williamson that earned New Zealand perhaps one of their most memorable victory in cricket history.
India was by far one of the hot favorites for the tournament. They finished on the top of the table. Many would think their batting apart from top three was not delivering.
Some thought they played the match against England strategically not going for the kill. Their lack of intensity in that match shut the door of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Now their unexpected loss in the semi final many thought a natural justice.
One must not underestimate New Zealand also. They were losing finalist in 2015 World cup losing to Australia at MCG. Now at Lords on 14 July they may find Australia once more. Well done New Zealand. That nation deserves to smile after that horror in the Christchurch.
ICC World Cup 2019 Semi Final Played at Manchester, England on 9 & 10 July
New Zealand 239/8 (LPRL Taylor 74, KS Williamson 67, HM Nichols 29, B Kumar 3/43) beat India 221 All Out in 49.3 Overs ( RA Jadeja 77, MS Dhoni 50, R Pant 32, HH Pandya 32 , MJ Henry 3/37, MJ Santner 2/34, TA Boult 2/42 ) by 18 runs.
Player of the Match: MJ Henry (New Zealand)