New Zealand reached their second World Cup final with a stunning 18-run win over shell-shocked India at Old Trafford on Wednesday. The Black Caps will play hosts England or holders Australia in Sunday s title match at Lord s after pulling off a remarkable triumph against two-time champions India. New Zealand, beaten in the 2015 final by Australia, were restricted to just 239-8 after completing their 50 overs a day later than expected following the suspension of play due to rain on Tuesday.
But Kane Williamson s side bowled superbly to rock India, with three top-order wickets from paceman Matthew Henry proving the key contribution in dismissing the pre-tournament favourites for 221. India, whose group match against 2015 runners-up New Zealand was washed out, have suffered just one defeat at this World Cup so far, against England, and ended on top of the 10-team group stage, making them strong favourites to beat the Black Caps.
Opener Rohit Sharma became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single World Cup when he made 103 in a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday, while fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been the spearhead of a well-balanced bowling attack.
Meanwhile, India captain Virat Kohli is renowned for relishing the big occasion. His side appear to have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal, with Bumrah saying, it’s a good headache to have when everyone’s performing and everyone’s in good nick and that’s something you love to have going into a crucial game like next week’s semi-final.
But if New Zealand, whose attack is set to feature experienced left-arm quick Trent Boult and fit-again fast bowler Lockie Ferguson can find a way through India’s top three, they could expose a lengthy tail. The Black Caps, who only qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place on the basis of net run-rate, have lost their last three games against Pakistan, holders Australia and England