New Zealand reached the 2019 World Cup final as they produced the bowling performance of the tournament to edge out a crestfallen India by 18 runs in a sensational match at the Old Trafford.
India, chasing 240 to win, were reduced to 24-4 and 92-6 before Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni added a 116-run partnership to drag the 2011 winners back in contention.
Jadeja, in particular, was superb, but with 37 runs needed off the last 3 overs, the left-hander hit Trent Boult high into the air and to New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson to fall for 77.
Dhoni struck a six off the first ball of the 48th over but was then superbly run out by Martin Guptill to realistically end India’s slim chances.
The final wicket – last man Yuzvendra Chahal edging behind – was greeted with shock by an India heavy crowd in Manchester, as New Zealand gathered into a huddle.
Earlier, New Zealand added 28 runs off 23 runs to reach 239/8 in their rain-affected 50 overs on Wednesday morning, India looked to be in the ascendency, but a brilliant start by the Kiwi bowlers put that in jeopardy.
Trent Boult and Matt Henry were all over the Indian batsmen; Rohit Sharma, the tournament’s leading run-scorer, edged Henry behind before captain Virat Kohli was trapped lbw by Boult.
The Men in Blue were in further trouble when KL Rahul nicked Henry through to wicketkeeper Tom Latham to leave them 5 for three.
As is so often the case, when things are going one side’s way, everything seems to stick in the hands. Neesham pulled off a superb catch at backward point to dismiss Dinesh Karthik and leave India reeling.
Meanwhile, former Indian cricketers like Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman slammed the team management for not sending Dhoni ahead of Dinesh Karthik.
India captain Virat Kohli revealed in the post-match press conference about why Dhoni wasn’t sent in early on. The wicket-keeper batsman was dismissed in the penultimate over after a brilliant throw from Martin Guptill caught the former short of the crease.
“He’s been given that role after the first few games of being in this situation, when the situation is bad he can control one end and can cover the last 6-7 overs,” Kohli said when quizzed about why Dhoni came in to bat so late.