Before the start of the game, not many people gave them a chance, however, New Zealand have defied all the odds to register a fantastic 18-run victory over India in the first semi-final clash at the Emirates Old Trafford. The Kiwis reached a competitive first innings total on the back of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson’s fighting half-century knocks. In the second innings, the Kiwi bowlers dented India by removing the key top-order early. Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni batted amazingly well to take the game as deep as possible, but eventually they fell short by a small margin.
With this victory, New Zealand have qualified for the World Cup finals for the second time in a row. Emboldened by the stunning win over fancied India in the semifinal, New Zealand’s seasoned batsman Ross Taylor says the team is better prepared this time for the title clash of the World Cup.
Four years ago, New Zealand were hammered by Australia by seven wickets in the 2015 world cup final, overawed by the occasion. At Lord’s on Sunday, Taylor believes the Black Caps will know what to expect and be better prepared to cope with the challenges of an ICC World Cup final.
You just have to enjoy it
“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit overawed by the change of scenery. I think we know what to expect, the pressures that come with it, we’ve been there before,” Taylor was quoted as saying in the ICC website. “You just have to enjoy it, it’s the Home of Cricket, I can’t think of a better place to play a final. Whether it’s England or Australia, we have to enjoy the moment, put our best foot forward and hope for the best.”
After battling to 239 for eight, Matt Henry and Trent Boult combined to reduce India to 24 for four, and despite a fightback from Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50), the target proved beyond India with Jimmy Neesham taking a stunning catch to remove Dinesh Karthik and Martin Guptill effectively sealing it with a sensational run-out of Dhoni.
He added: “I woke up at three in the morning so I didn’t know how I was going to go out and bat. It was such a strange one, it was a Test match feeling almost, being not out overnight and being a bit restless. But we talked about 240 being what Kane (Williamson) and I thought was a very competitive total. I don’t think a lot of people believed us. It was a really slow wicket and if anything it got better to bat once it rained.”
“The big boys up front were fantastic getting those three wickets and from there it was nice to be ahead of the game. Jadeja and Dhoni nearly took it away from us. There was some brilliance out there, the catch of Neesham, the run-out of Guptill without even the keeper there. Those highlights in a few years’ time will be something the team will never forget.”