In an upset win in a rain-interrupted game, New Zealand beat favorites India in a thrilling first semi-final game in the cricket World Cup. New Zealand batted first and scored a very modest 239 runs in their 50 overs. Given the powerful Indian batting line up, it seemed like India would win with ease even on a difficult pitch but their top order batting collapsed, leaving them reeling at 92 for 6 before a stout rearguard action by M.S. Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja threatened to completely turn the tables by taking them to a score of 208, leaving them with just 32 runs to make to win.
But India’s top order batters had batted extremely slowly and Dhoni and Jadeja had not been able to sufficiently make up for lost time. With only 15 deliveries left, the pressure was on India to take greater risks to score quickly and they ended up losing their last four wickets for just 13 runs, thus falling short of the New Zealand score by 19 runs. The collapse was triggered by a beautiful throw by Martin Guptil from an angle where he could aim at only one stump and he hit it to run out Dhoni.
I think it is safe to say that there is much rejoicing the world of cricket other than in India, because of not only the bullying tactics of the Indian cricket body that demands that the international cricket body acceded to their wishes, but also because of the arrogance of their team and fans. Meanwhile, New Zealand is very well liked.
The other semi-final is tomorrow (Thursday) between Australia and England. I have a slight partiality for England not because I particularly like them but because I dislike Australia more, because of the relentless gamesmanship that they always display. Since both England and Australia beat New Zealand decisively in the first round of games, either would have to be favored over NZ in the final.
But whichever team wins that semi-final, I suspect that most of the cricket world is solidly in New Zealand’s camp for the final on Sunday the 14th.