New Zealand booked a berth in the World Cup final on the back of a tight 18-run victory over India at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday.
The match was spread across two days, after rain prevented a conclusion on Tuesday. Captain Kane Williamson carried New Zealand to 239-8 after winning the toss and opting to bat first. Williamson gathered a workmanlike 67 from 95 – and was well supported by former skipper Ross Taylor’s 74 from 90.
India’s pursuit was initially rocked by telling opening spells from fast bowlers Matt Henry and Trent Boult. Openers Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul fell for a single each – as did captain Virat Kohli. Kohli was visibly peeved after being deemed out lbw despite a strong review.
Middle-order batsman Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Hardik Pandya ensured India recovered from a precarious 24-4 to 92-6, before the veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni and sidekick Ravindra Jadeja shared a threatening 116-run alliance.
Jadeja gathered a first ODI half-century since September 2015. Dhoni’s milestone 350th ODI, meanwhile, was marked by characteristic cool, calm and collectedness. Boult eventually ended the century partnership by removing Jadeja for 77, which was soon followed by the run-out of Dhoni.
On-side fielder Martin Guptill’s direct hit indeed defied tremendous pressure. India’s tail-enders were predictably poor, as a potentially thrilling finish fizzled out.
New Zealand will meet England or Australia in Sunday’s final at Lord’s in London. The English and Aussies are will contest the second semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday.
The Black Caps played the Australians in the final of the 2015 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but lost by seven wickets.
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