IND-NZ first semifinal to reserve day

GBnews24 desk//

Kane Williamson fought hard, Ross Taylor grinded out the tough period but India walked away the happier side as New Zealand posted 211 for 5 in 46.1 overs before rain stopped play in the first semifinal at Old Trafford on Tuesday (July 9). The match will resume on Wednesday but the forecast is for scattered showers for the reserve day. Williamson made 67 off 95 on a tacky surface while Taylor overcame a slow start to end unbeaten on 67 just when New Zealand were looking to push on.

Once the coin fell in New Zealand’s favour, both captains had no hesitation in admitting they would have batted first. Advantage New Zealand then? Not really. India’s opening pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – made a superb start with just one run being conceded in the first three overs. New Zealand’s best bet at that stage was to see off the new-ball spell. Martin Guptill, horrendously out of form in this tournament, though, edged a Bumrah delivery to second slip in the fourth over to give India the shot in the arm.

In the first seven overs, New Zealand scored 10. They posted the lowest powerplay score in the tournament ending the first 10 with just 27 on the board. Henry Nicholls and Williamson, though, picked up the rate from the eighth over to score 42 in the next seven. The New Zealand pair, however, were slowed down by Hardik Pandya first and then by Ravindra Jadeja. On a dry surface, the spinner was hard to get away and the frustration consumed Nicholls as he was bowled by a Jadeja incoming delivery in the 19th over with just 69 on the board.

Some serious questions will be asked if New Zealand fail to get past India here about their intent in the middle overs. From the 14th over to 27.3, there were no boundaries as Yuzvendra Chahal settled into his spell. Pandya went briefly off the field because of a groin issue but Jadeja and Chahal managed to sustain the pressure. Williamson went past his half-century in the 30th over off 79 balls. He fell six overs later, trying to cut a Chahal length delivery that bounced just a tad extra and looped to the short third man fielder off the outer edge.

James Neesham scored just 12 and New Zealand had to wait till the 44th over for Taylor to show some intent. Taylor started with a six against Chahal – the first of the day – and then ended up collecting 18 off the over. Taylor had crossed his half-century but New Zealand needed more from him. He survived a lbw review but Colin de Grandhomme’s 10-ball 16 turned out to be another false dawn.

In the end, it was New Zealand gasping for quick runs – on a tough track – against the No. 1 bowler in the format. The result? An anti-climatic four-hour rain break. India got sloppy in the end and were guilty of being lethargic. The intensity went missing and runs were leaked but Kohli and his bowlers will be disappointed they weren’t able to finish off their quota which could have kept New Zealand to a lot less.

Brief scores: New Zealand 211/5 in 46.1 overs (Kane Williamson 67, Ross Taylor 67*; Jasprit Bumrah 1-25) vs India

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