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Rain disrupts semi-final as New Zealand struggle for runs

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Heavy rain towards the tailend of the New Zealand innings forced the first semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup onto a second day here at Old Trafford.

Rain was forecast for the afternoon and it came down in buckets and did not cease even to force a 20-overs a side match to decide on the winner. With an extra day scheduled for the two semi-finals and final, New Zealand will now resume from their score of 211 for five wickets from 46.1 overs. They have a further 23 balls to face.

The forecast for Wednesday is also not that great and the chance of the semi-final being played to a finish looks doubtful.

In the circumstances of that happening i.e. the match ending in a no-result, then the team which proceeds to the final will be the side that finished in the higher position in the League stage, which in this case will be India who finished on top.

Winning the toss and choosing to bat first on what initially looked like a good batting surface New Zealand made heavy weather of the Indian bowling that was very accurate and made the Black Caps work hard for every run. The slowness of the pitch also didn’t help New Zealand’s cause and their batting failed to gain any momentum against some good accurate bowling by the Indian seamers.

The out of form Martin Guptill after surviving an unsuccessful first ball lbw review from India didn’t last long edging a delivery from Jasprit Bumrah to Virat Kohli at slip who did well to cling onto the ball travelling at great pace towards his face.

Henry Nicholls joined by his captain Kane Williamson set about repairing the early damage with a partnership of 69, but it was painful progress as the slowness of the pitch coupled with the accuracy of the Indian bowlers made run scoring a difficult task. The bowlers piled the pressure on the batsmen by bowling several dot balls.

The first ten-over power play saw New Zealand pinned down to 27-1, the lowest first power play of the present World Cup.

The behaviour of the pitch also cast doubts in the batsmen’s mind as Indian spinners Ravindu Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal found alarming turn and bounce from the surface.

All the batsmen struggled to come to terms with the slow nature of the pitch which the bowlers used very well not giving them any freedom for shot-making and easy runs.

Williamson who was in good touch scored 67 off 95 balls completing 500 runs in the current competition and his other most experienced partner Ross Taylor also made the identical score but was still at the crease when the rains arrived having hit three fours and a six in his 85-ball innings. The pair added 65 for the third wicket.

James Neesham and Colin Grandhomme fell cheaply as they tried to accelerate the scoring leaving Tom Latham as the only other recognised batsman with Taylor to carry New Zealand to a decent total from which their bowlers could pose a threat to the strong Indian batting line-up.

(Daily News)

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