Hosts England take on holders Australia for the right to face New Zealand in the World Cup final at Lord’s.
The old enemies clash at Edgbaston in the second semi-final after the Black Caps beat India in a thriller on Wednesday.
Star India batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli misfired at Old Trafford as they lurched to 24 for four and then 92 for six chasing 240 on the reserve day of the first last-four clash.
Ravindra Jadeja’s swashbuckling 77 from 59 balls gave India fleeting hope but he departed with 32 required off 13 deliveries before Mahendra Singh Dhoni was run out for 50 as the Asian giants were skittled for 221 with three balls unused.
Next for New Zealand is Sunday’s showpiece game, in which they will either take on the hosts or the team that beat them in the 2015 final.
India’s top-order struggles meant the pressure was on Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya to consolidate, a quality not usually associated with two star talents more renowned for their big-hitting. They survived some nervy moments but the pressure was on when Mitch Santner came into the attack. Just one run was added off 16 balls before Rishabh cracked, swinging at the slow left armer to deep midwicket, where Colin De Grandhomme took the catch.
The India captain pinpointed their top-order collapse as the major contributory factor for their semi-final defeat.
Rohit became the first man to register five centuries at a single World Cup last weekend while the chance to take one of Sachin Tendulkar’s records was within his grasp when he came to the crease at the start of India’s innings. On 647 runs, the opener, a centurion in each of his previous three knocks, had the chance to overtake the Little Master’s haul of 673 from 2003. But he feathered an edge behind to depart for one off four balls. Australia opener David Warner could yet take the benchmark for himself – he is only 35 adrift heading into the England game.
Martin Guptill may have contributed just one with the bat, his fifth single-figure score in his last seven innings, but his stellar work in the field may just see him retain his place. With Jadeja back in the pavilion, India’s hopes rested entirely on Dhoni, whose shoulders had just started to loosen. The veteran had flicked Lockie Ferguson backwards of square and chanced a second against the arm of Guptill. It was a mistake. The veteran was out for 50 after the Kiwi threw down the stumps and India’s hopes vanished.
Australia beat New Zealand in the 2015 final in Melbourne at the conclusion of a tournament both teams hosted. The Black Caps, in their first final, were soundly beaten by seven wickets as Australia won a fifth title. Kiwi left-arm seamer Trent Boult would like another crack at the same opponents this year. “I think Australia pumped us in 2015 in the final so it would be nice to (play them) again,” he said.
England captain Eoin Morgan believes his side are living the dream – and is not ready for it to stop. England have never lifted the trophy and have not reached the final since 1992. And Morgan wants his side to embrace the position they find themselves in. He said: “I think sometimes you can lose sight of the position that you’re in and the fact you’re living your dream. Sometimes, I’m guilty of it. I don’t think it is impossible to play with a smile on your face. I think excitement should probably be the dominant (emotion). It’s the semi-final of a World Cup.”
July 11: Australia v England at Edgbaston
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