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Sports

July 9, 2019

Rain plays spoilsport again, World Cup semi-final featuring India, NZ to resume on Wednesday

Sports

Tue, Jul 09, 2019

MANCHESTER: Wet weather returned to haunt the ICC World Cup on Tuesday when persistent rains forced the organisers to take the first semi-final featuring India and New Zealand into the reserve day.

After opting to bat first, the Black Caps were struggling to put up a challenging total despite fifties from their seasoned duo of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor here at Old Trafford.

When the players were forced off the field at around 2.00 pm local time because of rain, New Zealand were batting on 211-5 from 46.1 overs. Taylor was unbeaten on a 85-ball 67 while Tom Latham was on the crease at 3.

Even though the match is scheduled to resume on Wednesday morning with New Zealand resuming at 211-5 with 23 balls of their innings still to come, there are fears that the first semi-final might end as a washout as the forecast isn’t looking good. If that happens then India would make it to Sunday’s final as they finished higher than New Zealand in the league stages of the tournament.

But all is not lost for New Zealand, who could end up as beneficiaries if the match is reduced to a 20-over affair on what promises to be a wet Wednesday. If there is more rain and the match is reduced to a 20-20 game, India would need to chase 148 in 20 overs to qualify for the final. It won’t be an easy target considering that New Zealand’s pace attack which includes the likes of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson could be pretty lethal in overcast conditions.

The Black Caps, however, could have been in a better situation had the batsmen batted more purposefully. But the innings didn’t really take off after the out-of-sorts opener Martin Guptill fell cheaply once again.

Skipper Williamson and Henry Nicholls batted with great caution in a slow but steady second wicket stand of 68. Nicholls fell to Ravindra Jadeja for 28 from 51 balls.

Willamson then added 65 with Taylor before departing for a 95-balls 67 that included six fours.

Taylor continued to farm the strike but wickets fell at regular intervals. It was only in the last five overs before the rain interruption that he began to accelerate the scoring rate as New Zealand put on 48 run at almost ten an over. He has hit three fours and a six in his vital knock.

India’s new-ball duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were impressive as they kept the New Zealanders on a tight leash.

The teams will return to the field on Wednesday morning provided the weather doesn’t play spoilsport. There is an even worse forecast for the reserve day.

According to the rules, India will need to bat at least 20 overs for a result to be achieved or New Zealand bowl India out, or the Indians achieve their target, in lesser time.

According to the ODI playing conditions, "On the Reserve Day, play shall recommence under the same assumption that the last ball was bowled on the scheduled day."

The winner of the first semi-final will take on the winner of Thursday pre-final featuring defending champions Australia and hosts England at Edgbaston in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.

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