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 ICC World Cup Semis: Kiwis Stun India To Reach Final

Kiwis celebrate following the wicket of Indian skipper  Virat Kohli

ICC World Cup Semis: Kiwis Stun India To Reach Final

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Kiwis celebrate following the wicket of Indian skipper  Virat Kohli

By ZAID MOHAMMED

NEW Zealand stunned India on today to book their place in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup with a thrilling 18-run victory at Old Trafford in Manchester.

The Black Caps will face either Australia or England, who clash tomorrow in the other semi-final of the world tournament at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

After the rain had stretched the match into the reserve day, New Zealand completed the 3.5 overs of the allotted 50 overs remaining of their innings to close on 239 for eight wickets, which by any standard was much less than they expected.

But cricket has been described as a game of glorious uncertainties and India, whose strong batting has been a highlight of their progress in the tournament, in reply were immediately rocked back on their heels and were five runs for three wickets in the opening overs.

They progressed to 93 for six, and were unbelievably in the hunt after Hardik Pandya struck 32, and a century-run stand between Ajay Jadeja and MS Dhoni, left India needing 37 from the last 18 balls.

But it all began to unravel when Jadeja departed caught in the deep for a brilliant 77 off 59 balls, and Dhoni, who grafted his way to 50 with only one boundary, was run out by an inch on a direct hit from Martin Guptill, attempting a second run to keep the strike.

The equation was down to 25 off 11 balls but New Zealand had the wind in their sails and clinically finished off the opposition’s tail-enders and the India innings 221.

As much as a failure of the Indian top order to lay the foundation for what could have been a measured victory chase, the New Zealand bowling, and fielding came up trumps.

Matt Henry (3-37), Mitchell Santner (2-34), Trent Boult (2-42) used the conditions expertly to put the Indian batsmen on the defensive from the start and effectively helped their team defend a score which squarely establishes them as favorites against whichever team qualifies to meet them in Sunday’s final at Lord’s in London.

On Tuesday, the New Zealand batting also struggled and it was their captain Kane Williamson (67) once again coming to the rescue with the experienced Ross Taylor (74) who were both instrumental in shoring up the team’s total which proved adequate in the end.

The most successful Indian bowler was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who took three wickets for 43 runs.

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