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July 11, 2019

New Zealand knock high-flying India out of WC

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July 11, 2019

MANCHESTER: When India came on the field to bat after restricting New Zealand to 239, the score projector gave them a 98 percent chance of winning the first World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Their supporters were probably giving them a 100 percent chance. But both fans and the Indian team learnt it the hard way, there are no certainties in sport.

Pacer Matt Henry produced a scintillating spell of fast bowling as New Zealand brought high-flying India down to earth with a stunning 18-run triumph to reach the World Cup final for a second time in a row.

It was apparent that the Indians had become too overconfident.

They weren’t given any real tough time by any team in the group stages as even their sole defeat against England seemed to be a result of a lack of intent from some of their players.

They were relying too heavily on opener Rohit Sharma, who took the field at Edgbaston as the first players to have hit five hundreds in a single World Cup edition.

But when India needed him the most Rohit fell for just 1 to a roaring Matt Henry.

But even after his fall, the Indians would have been confident of chasing down 239. After all they had Virat Kohli, the world’s best batsman. But Kohli, who was unable to really fire in the World Cup, was trapped LBW by Trent Boult for just 1.

Wickets continued to fell for India and at one stage they were 92-6 in 30.3 before old fox MD Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja lifted their hopes with a 116-run partnership for the 7th wickets.

Probably playing his last international game, Dhoni hit a 72-ball 50 but looked a pale shadow of his past brilliance. More than Dhoni, it was Jadeja who kept India in the hunt but was unable to stop the Black Caps from a memorable triumph.

Agencies add: New Zealand will face the winners of Thursday’s second semi-final between Australia – the team that beat them in the 2015 final – and hosts England in Sunday’s title match at Lord’s.

Earlier, India slumped to five for three in pursuit of a target of 240 and were 24 for four when Dinesh Karthik was out.

Henry (three for 37) and Boult (two for 42) did the damage with the new ball.

Jadeja hit well-struck sixes off both Jimmy Neesham and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner during a 39-ball fifty.

With 10 overs left, India were 150 for six and needing a further 90 runs off the final 60 balls of the innings.

Jadeja got them closer with a superb straight six off fast bowler Lockie Ferguson and, with five overs left, the target was down to 52.

But Jadeja’s 59-ball innings, featuring four fours and four sixes, ended when he skyed Boult to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

With India needing 31 off two overs, Dhoni uppercut Ferguson for six to the delight of the massed ranks of India fans in the crowd.

But, going for a second run to keep the strike, the 38-year-old Dhoni, India’s 2011 World Cup-winning captain, was just run out by Martin Guptill’s direct hit for 50 off 72 balls.

With 23 required off the last six balls, tailender Yuzvendra Chahal glanced Neesham for four.

But the match finished with three balls to spare when Chahal edged to wicketkeeper Tom Latham, a review confirming his dismissal and New Zealand’s shock victory.

Rohit began the procession of top-order dismissals when he was caught behind off Henry.

Kohli fell next, lbw to a superb inswinger from left-armer Boult.

India were then five for three when Rahul was brilliantly caught by a diving Latham after edging Henry.

Neesham then held a brilliant superb one-handed catch at backward point to dismiss Karthik off Henry.

Rishabh Pant holed out for 32 when he was caught at deep midwicket by Colin de Grandhomme following a lofted sweep off Santner, leaving India slipping towards an unexpected exit.

Earlier, New Zealand added 28 runs in the remaining 23 balls of their innings to finish on 239-8 after rain had stopped play on Tuesday.

Ross Taylor, who resumed on 67 not out, top-scored with 74 after Williamson had made a masterly 67 in awkward conditions.

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