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Black Caps lock in India semi-final match after shock loss

Author
Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:24PM
(Photo / Getty)

The Black Caps' 16-year wait to play India at the Cricket World Cup is about to end.

The two sides will meet in the semifinals on Tuesday at Old Trafford, after India vaulted into top spot on the ladder for the first time all tournament this morning.

India's seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka put them temporarily in top spot, but they held on to finish the group stage in first place after Australia suffered a surprise 10-run defeat at the hands of South Africa.

What was looking like a 2015 final re-match instead turned into a World Cup showdown not seen since 2003, with the Black Caps' group stage match against India being washed out in Nottingham – giving each side a point which proved to be pivotal in their eventual semifinal positions.

India will go in as favourites on Tuesday given their strong form, having suffered just one defeat at the Cup, to England, while opener Rohit Sharma has been the tournament's star batsmen, hitting a record five centuries.

They also have the world's best ODI bowler and batsman – Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli – in their ranks, as well as a slew of other notable contributors. Bumrah was absent when the two sides met in an ODI series this summer in New Zealand, while Kohli played just three of the encounters as India claimed a convincing 4-1 series win.

However, the Black Caps can clutch to one game in particular, in Hamilton where Trent Boult ripped through the Indian top order with 5-21, and India were routed for an ODI record low of 92.

Those conditions are unlikely to be replicated in Manchester on Tuesday, but the Black Caps also claimed a convincing warm-up win over India at The Oval. Sure, that means remarkably little when looking at the pressure situation of a World Cup semifinal, but at least it will give New Zealand some proof to hold on to – they've done it before, and they can do it again.

Australia will play England in the other semifinal in Birmingham, after falling in an upset to a South Africa side who finally showed what they were capable of, though far too late to make up for a disappointing Cup campaign.

South Africa made 325-6 batting first at Old Trafford – perhaps showing the benefits of batting first on Tuesday – with captain Faf du Plessis hitting a 94-ball 100, and Rassie van der Dussen caught on the boundary off the final ball of the innings looking for his own century, dismissed for 95 from 97 balls.

The Australian bowling attack was wayward for the first time all tournament, with South Africa adding 79 for the first wicket in just 11.3 overs, and not looking back. Australia, who already had Shaun Marsh ruled out of the Cup due to injury this week, will now be sweating on the fitness of Usman Khawaja, who suffered a hamstring injury while batting and is in doubt for the rest of the tournament.

His fellow batsmen didn't have much better luck until David Warner and Alex Carey joined forces at 119-4. The pair added 108 to give Australia a sniff, with Warner blasting an excellent 122 off 117 balls. However, a superb catch at mid-on by Chris Morris saw the end of Warner, and with 99 needed from 65 balls, it was left to Carey.

He was superb – smacking 85 from 69 balls to get his side close - but Morris got rid of him too, this time with the ball, and although Khawaja hobbled out to try and pull off a remarkable win, Australia fell short in the final over.

 

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