New Zealand, who came as underdogs into the Cricket World Cup semis, created one of the greatest upsets in the tournament’s history with an 18-run shock victory over 2011 champions India at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
New Zealand will clash with the winner of the second semi-final between England and Australia in the final at Lord’s in London on Sunday.
It looked as if New Zealand would exit after scoring just 239 for 8 as the game resumed on Wednesday, the reserve day, after rain disrupted their batting at 211 for 5 on Tuesday.
But their bowlers rose to the occasion and India suffered the most disastrous start in World Cup history with three of its top batsmen, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, each out for one and the board reading 5 for 3.
Dinesh Karthik’s dismissal for 6 added to India’s woes.
Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya could not push the score which stood at 92 for six when their wickets fell at 23rd and 31st overs respectively.
An inspiring 100-run partnership off 97 balls between MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, above (Photo credit: ICC Twitter), reignited India’s hopes for victory.
With 37 runs needed from the final 18 balls, the two players looked certain to make it.
But Jadeja’s superb batting ended in the 48th over after he was caught by Kane Williamson off a Boult Trent delivery. Jadeja scored 77 from 59 balls.
Dhoni continued his fireworks by hitting a six in the first ball of the 48th over. But he was run out by Martin Guptill’s superb throw which sealed India’s fate.
Ross Taylor, Guptill’s teammate, said the direct throw will long be remembered by cricket-lovers of New Zealand.
New Zealand owes its victory to the outstanding performance of its three bowlers Boult, Henry and Lockie Ferguson and fielders Guptill and Jimmy Neesham.
The bowlers knew they had to perform at their best to beat prolific strikers such as Rohit Sharma and Rahul.
Rohit Sharma and Rahul were caught behind by keeper Tom Latham off Henry in the second and third overs respectively while Virat Kohli was trapped leg before wicket in the second over by an in-swinger from Bolt.
Henry struck again in the 10th over by dismissing Dinesh Karthik for 6 as Neesham took the best catch of the tournament so far.
It was a battle of nerves in the last three overs with Jadeja and Dhoni preparing for the big hits to steer India to victory.
But New Zealand players maintained their cool and did their job perfectly.
For India, the exit from the World Cup was heart-breaking as they were playing so well, often crossing the 300-run mark. Even India’s critics thought the team’s pace bowling and striking power will help them lift the World Cup again.
Jadeja and Dhoni did their best for the team but, sadly, it was not just India’s day.