India restricts New Zealand to 211-5 before rain stops play
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — India's disciplined bowling effort restricted New Zealand to 211-5 before rain stopped play with 3.5 overs of the innings left in the first Cricket World Cup semifinal at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 67 — the same score Kiwi captain Kane Williamson was out for — and was starting to get on top of India's bowlers for the first time before the forecast showers arrived.
Williamson was forced to come in early once again following the dismissal of out-of-form Martin Guptill for 1, as India's pacemen bowled a tight line and length while also getting some movement under cloudy skies in Manchester.
The pitch looked increasingly sluggish, preventing the Black Caps from accelerating in the middle part of the innings after being tied down at 83-2 after 25 overs. They were 10-1 after seven overs and just 27-1 after 10 overs, the lowest score by any side this tournament after the opening powerplay.
Jasprit Bumrah was especially economical, getting Guptill early on — to a lifter that drew an edge high to Virat Kohli at second slip — and going off due to the rain with figures of 1-25 off eight overs.
Henry Nicholls was next to go for 28, leaving New Zealand with Williamson and Taylor — its two best batsmen.
But they failed to seriously up the run rate, with Taylor in particular regularly mistiming his shots. Still, he hung around until the final overs and was unloading before the rain came. The 44th over, off Yuzvendra Chahal, went for 18 runs, which was by far the best of the innings for New Zealand.
Chahal had the most expensive figures of 1-63 off 10 overs but he did snare the prized wicket of Williamson, who chopped a top-edge to point.
Jimmy Neesham (12) and Colin de Grandhomme (16) quickly came and went, and Tom Latham was in the middle on 3 with Taylor when play was stopped.
Umpires can reduce the number of overs to the minimum of 20 per side, which is needed to achieve a result.
If there is still no result by close of play on Tuesday, play will continue on Wednesday — the designated reserve day for the first semifinal. The reserve day is a continuation of the game, not a restart.
If there is no more play on Wednesday, India would advance courtesy of finishing higher in the group standings. They were first and New Zealand was fourth.
The winner plays England or Australia in the final at Lord's on July 14. The second semifinal is at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80