A defeat in the semifinal was perhaps just not in the script for India. The Virat Kohli-led side was the firm favourites to beat New Zealand in Manchester after finishing the group stage at the top of the points table. However, the Kiwis came up with a stunning effort to win the game by 18 runs and storm into their second consecutive World Cup final.
Starting the day on 211 for 5, New Zealand finished it on 239 for 8. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were the biggest contributors for the Black Caps with both the players scoring fifties. In reply, India were off to a disastrous start. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were back in the hut after scoring one each with the scoreboard reading just 5.
Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya stopped the rot for a while but departed in quick succession to leave India reeling at 92 for 6. This is when Ravindra Jadeja joined MS Dhoni in the middle and revived the chase. He struck a brilliant fifty to put India back in contention. However, the required rate kept mounting and he got out trying a big shot when the team needed 32 runs from 14 balls. Dhoni was out in the very next over before India were folded up for 221.
Speaking at the end of the game, skipper Virat Kohli praised New Zealand for their bowling effort. He also had a word of praise for Jadeja for his stunning display.
“The first half, we were very, very good. With the ball, in the field, we were spot on. We got what we needed at that point. We thought we had restricted New Zealand to a chaseable score on any surface but the way they come out with the ball in the first half-an-hour was what made the difference. We knew we had a good day yesterday and were proud of it. Had a good time in the morning today as well and we had momentum with us. Credit to the New Zealand bowlers, they were really good with the new ball and hit the right areas. I think it was the skill level on display (from NZ bowlers) was there for all to see,” said Virat Kohli.
“I think Jadeja had a really good couple of games and it’s his performance today that’s a huge positive for his skill-set. MS had a good partnership with him, and again a game of small margins, run out by a small margin. Always feels bad when you play well all tournament and then 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out. New Zealand deserve it, they put us under more pressure. At times, I think our shot-selection could have been better. Otherwise, we played a really good brand of cricket. Really proud of the way we competed throughout the tournament. As I said, come the knockouts, it’s anyone’s game and New Zealand showed more composure. They were braver than us and deserve to win. Thanks to all the fans, thanks for coming out in huge numbers,” he added.