ICC World Cup 2019: “New Zealand Deserve It”: Virat Kohli

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Virat Kohli

The first semi-final between India and New Zealand has been done and dusted after a lot of rain threat where New Zealand registered an 18-run win over Virat Kohli led India. The scheduled date of the game was on July 9 where the game was stopped at 46.1 overs due to heavy rain. New Zealand were batting at 211-5 with Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in the middle.

After much speculations, the game shifted to the reserved day where India started with a bang. Ross Taylor ran out for 74 while Tom Latham fell for mere 10 and Matt Henry for 1 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over. The Kiwis put up a total of 239 after 50 overs with the loss of 8 wickets.

India required a good start to the run-chase which their openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul failed to provide. Matt Henry was the one who provided with the first breakthrough to his side by taking in-form Rohit Sharma for just 1. Experienced Trent Boult was the next who trapped India captain Virat Kohli before the stumps for 1 and the next was KL Rahul who also fell for 1.

The pressure fell upon the middle order who were not in sync. Although Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik tried their best, Karthik couldn’t stay long and departed for 6 and left India struggling at 24-4. Hardik Pandya then tried to resurrect the chase with Pant, adding 47 runs before Pant’s dismissal for 32. Pandya also scored 32 but it was Ravindra Jadeja who took the limelight from others.

Ravindra Jadeja

Jadeja came to bat in the 31st over after Pandya’s dismissal and took a couple of deliveries to set. After setting down in the middle, he started punishing every bowler – be it pacer or spinner. His big shots helped him to score fifty within 38 balls and the equation came down to 72 off 48. At that time, with two set batsmen in the middle, the total was looking easy to chase down.

After getting two lives, Jadeja took the equation to 33 off 15 with his blistering innings. However, his stormy innings came to an end in the 48th over when he didn’t pick the line of the short ball and Kane Williamson took an easy catch at mid-off. Though MS Dhoni tried his best, his dismissal put the full stop on the hope of India’s win and eventually bundled within 221.

After the match, Kohli praised New Zealand for their all-round effort.

“The first half, we were very, very good. We got what we needed at that point. We thought we had restricted New Zealand to a chaseable score but the way they come out with the ball was what made the difference. I think it was the skill level on display (from NZ bowlers) was there for all to see,” said Virat Kohli.

The captain even praised the efforts of Jadeja and MS Dhoni as well who both nearly took the team over the finish line.

“Jadeja had a really good couple of games and it’s his performances that are a huge positive. New Zealand deserve it, they put us under more pressure. At times, I think our shot selection could have been better. Really proud of the way we competed throughout the tournament. As I said, come the knockouts, New Zealand were braver than us and deserve to win. Thanks to all the fans, thanks for coming out in huge numbers,” added Virat Kohli.

India’s journey for this year, have come to an end with this loss.