New Zealand produced the first big upset of the ICC World Cup Wednesday, stunning pre-tournament favourites India by 18 runs in the first semi-final at Old Trafford, Manchester.
The Kiwis advanced to their second straight final with the amazing win but it was not until late that they could breathe easily, after veteran wicket-keeper MS Dhoni and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja had pushed India to within sight of the 240 target with a brilliant 116-run seventh-wicket stand.
It was only when veteran opener Martin Guptill ran out Dhoni for exactly 50 with the score on 216 for eight three balls into the 48th over, moments after Jadeja was dismissed for a brilliant 59-ball 77, that skipper Kane Williamson’s men could celebrate.
Guptill has had a miserable tournament with the bat and that had continued on Tuesday as he scored just one run as the Kiwis struggled to 211 for five before rain forced the match into Wednesday’s reserve day. However, when Dhoni attempted a second run off medium-pacer Lockie Ferguson three balls into the 48th over Guptill swooped in from backward point and threw down the stumps to break what then seemed a match-winning partnership for India.
But the result never seemed in doubt for the Kiwis after opening pacers Matt Henry and Trent Boult removed the first three frontline batsmen – the in-form Rohit Sharma (1), KL Rahul (1) and Kohli (1) – to reduce India to three wickets for five runs.
In between this, only Risabh Pant and Hardik Pandya offered any resistance with 32 each before Dhoni and Jadeja got together. But once both men were gone so too were India’s hopes of the title.
Henry, with figures of three for 37, was named Man-of-the-Match, while Boult (2/ 42) and Mitchell Santner (2/34) bagged two wickets each.
Earlier, the Kiwis added just 28 runs to their overnight 211 after they were undone by some magic from Jadeja. He first ran out Taylor for his well-played 74 with a throw from midwicket in the 47th over, before he took a fine catch at deep midwicket from the first ball of the next over to remove Tom Latham (10) off pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was the best India bowler with figures of three for 43. But those runs proved just enough for the Kiwis to complete the upset.
NEW ZEALAND 239-8 (50) (Ross Taylor 74, Kane Williamson 67, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/43) v INDIA 221 all out (49.3) (Ravindra Jadeja 77, MS Dhoni 50, Matt Henry 3/37, Trent Boult 2/42, Mitchell Santner 2/34)
Result: NEW ZEALAND WON BY 18 RUNS