It was a semi-final spread over 28 hours and 24 minutes, and it contained some of the defining features of this World Cup. Rain, enough of it to force the match into a reserve day. Terrific new-ball bowling. Incredible fielding. A tricky, two-paced surface that kept scoring rates down, but also ensured neither team was ever entirely out of the contest.
At the end of it, it was New Zealand who remained standing, reaching their second successive World Cup final with an 18-run win. India went out at the semi-final stage for the second successive tournament, but not without scripting a dramatic comeback that showed just why they are one of the world’s top ODI teams.
This Old Trafford is just half a mile from the other Old Trafford, and MS Dhonitime is just as potent a sporting quantity as Fergie time. Ravindra Jadeja was in the middle of one of the great does-not-deserve-to-lose performances at the other end. Chasing 240, India had roused themselves from 5 for 3 and then 92 for 6, and were somehow still in the contest. They were now 203 for 6, and needed 37 from the last 18 balls.
But it wasn’t to be their day. Jadeja, who had performed at the peak of his ability in every bit and piece of his cricketing skillset, finally miscued a slower ball from Trent Boult to depart for 77 off 59 balls. Dhoni, who had nudged and nurdled his way to 43 with only one boundary, carved Lockie Ferguson for six over point at the start of the 49th over to bring the equation down to 25 off 11 balls. But in an attempt to keep the strike, he turned for a desperate second run two balls later, and was beaten to the keeper’s end by an inch, undone by a breathtaking direct hit from Martin Guptill.
It was then, and only then, that New Zealand could breathe, and think of Lord’s, July 14.
Summarized scores: New Zealand 239 for 8 (Taylor 74,
Williamson 67, Bhuvneshwar 3-43) beat India 221 (Jadeja 77, Dhoni 50, Henry 3-37, Santner 2-34, Boult 2-42) by 18 runs