New Zealand overpowered India to beat them by 18 runs in the first semifinal of the ICC World Cup 2019 to progress to the finals at the Old Trafford in Manchester. MS Dhoni was once again at the receiving end for failing to score quick runs while his run-out in the 49th over made the difference as the Kiwis walked away with the game. Skipper Kane Williamson backed the veteran wicket-keeper batsman calling him a world-class player.
Dhoni is a world-class player: Williamson
Batting first, New Zealand posted 239 runs in rain-marred first innings. The first day saw half-centuries from Kane Williamson, and Ross Taylor helped the go past the 200-run mark before the rain came pouring down. Indian bowlers did an outstanding job with the ball to keep the Kiwi batters in check. But the New Zealanders assessed the conditions thoroughly when the game resumed and collected 28 vital runs at the end, which made the difference between the two teams.
Meanwhile, Indian batters failed to rally behind their bowlers as Matt Henry, and Trent Boult were lethal with the new ball, blowing away India’s top half to leave them at five for three and then 24 for four. India made a comeback first through Rishabh Pant-Hardik Pandya and then through a fantastic Ravindra Jadeja-MS Dhoni partnership. Jadeja in particular, played arguably his best ODI knock to get India deep but his dismissal put Dhoni under pressure who once again struggled to find the boundaries. A brilliant piece of fielding from Martin Guptill ended his vigil and took the game away from India; thus ending their World Cup campaign.
Soon after the game, MS Dhoni was at the heart of all criticism, but Kane Williamson came in support of the underfire cricketer. Calling him a world-class player, Williamson said that Dhoni’s experience at this level is very important. He also added that it was a tough surface to bat on and Dhoni’s wicket at any point of the game is important.
“He’s a world-class player,” Williamson said. “Experience at this level and in these occasions is so important and his contribution today and yesterday, but throughout this campaign was extremely important.
“We’ve seen Dhoni finish games from those similar positions on a number of occasions. It was a tough surface so nothing promised but naturally to dismiss Dhoni in whatever fashion is extremely important,” Williamson concluded.