Ravindra Jadeja’s heroic 77 went in vain as India crashed to an 18-run defeat to New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup after Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul flopped in a run chase of 240.
India were playing for a spot in their 4th World Cup final but at the end of the day, New Zealand stormed to their second successive title clash. In 2015, New Zealand had lost to Australia in a one-sided final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 4 years later, they will wait to see which of Australia and England meet them at Lord’s on July 14.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had scored 1089 runs in World Cup 2019 between them before the semi-final but both men were dismissed for 1 each in overcast conditions. KL Rahul had scored 360 runs including a maiden World Cup hundred before Wednesday but like Rohit and Kohli, he too perished for 1.
India were tottering at 5 for 3 in 3.1 overs in pursuit of 240. Matt Henry was breathing fire, Trent Boult was on fire after getting Virat Kohli. India needed a miracle and for a while, it looked like Rishabh Pant would provide them that moment of magic.
Playing only his 4th World Cup match, Pant showed more flair than the other Indian batsmen. While Dinesh Karthik played out 16 dot balls at the other end, Pant was keen to get on with the game. Even when Karthik departed to leave India in hot water at 24 for 4, Pant was prepared to play his shots.
Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly fumed on air because there was no sign of MS Dhoni at the crease. It was surprising enough that India had sent in Dinesh Karthik before Dhoni but the team management decided to spring one more surprise: Hardik Pandya ahead of a man who has scored nearly 11,000 ODI runs.
MS Dhoni has been criticised for his strike rate in the World Cup. His approach in a steep run chase against England stunned Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain who were baffled by his approach. But MS Dhoni was still India’s most experienced batsman in the middle-order and it was hard to fathom why he walked in to bat at No.7.
But Jadeja and Dhoni were not going down without a fight. Ravindra Jadeja was called a bits and pieces cricketer by Sanjay Manjrekar but on Wednesday, he was determined to show he was not. He slammed 77 off 59 balls and added 106 for the 7th wicket with MS Dhoni.
India’s hopes were dashed when Jadeja fell to Trent Boult in the 48th over.
On Tuesday, the play was suspended due to rain after New Zealand had reached 211 for 5 off 46.1 overs. The match resumed on Reserve Day and the Black Caps finished 239 for 8 in 50 overs. India would have imagined it was going to be a breeze but New Zealand had other plans. And their pacers executed them beautifully.
New Zealand – 239/8 (Taylor 74, Williamson 67, Bhuvneshwar 3/43)
India – 221 (Jadeja 77, Dhoni 50, Henry 3/37, Santner 2/34, Boult 2/42)