In the much anticipated India- New Zealand World Cup semi-final clash, India, set out to chase 240 runs, are in a soup with five wickets down for less than 80 runs on the board.
The Indian top order, which had a brilliant run in the tournament until Wednesday, faced an off day with KL Rahul, Rohit Shamra and Virat Kohli all departing for a run each against their name.
Matt Henry has been looking lethal at Old Trafford and has broken the spine of Indian batting with three wickets to his credit.
The poor form of the Kiwi top order continued amidst overcast conditions in Old Trafford, Manchester.
Martin Guptill was dismissed for a 14 ball 1 when the team’s score was only 1 run in the first three overs.
However, after Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Guptill, Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls came in together and steadied the Kiwi ship. The duo put on 68 runs for the second wicket and looked all set for a big partnership when Ravindra Jadeja got the ball to turn and beat Nicholls’ bat to rattle his stumps.
Senior New Zealand batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor then resurrected the Kiwi innings to keep them in the game. The two leading scorers for New Zealand in the World Cup added 65 runs for the third wicket and it looked like the duo will take the score to a high level, almost away from India.
However, Williamson departed for 67 and post that New Zealand struggled to boost the run rate and lost wickets at regular intervals with James Neesham and Colin de Grandomme departing after contributing only 12 and 16 runs respectively.
After the play resumed on Wednesday, New Zealand managed to add 28 runs to their total in their remaining 23 balls.
While all bowlers picked up a wicket each, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were the pick of the bowlers for India as they made the Kiwi batsmen work hard for their runs. Bumrah too was economical. Jadeja conceded only 34 runs in his 10 over spell dismissing Henry Nicholls. Bhuvi, meanwhile conceded 43 runs but picked up three important wickets.
Much of India’s chances depended on the top order. With India’s apparent weakness, the middle order, already exposed, can the Kiwis clinch win and enter successive World Cup finals or will the Indian team manage a comeback?
We will find out in just a bit.