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Home   /   Cricket Weekly Column #7 World Cup Semi-Finals
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By Riley Taylor (@rileyttaylor21)

Welcome to a special Cricket World Cup semi-final edition of Overtime’s Cricket Weekly Column.

This week, we find out the World Cup finalists!

July 9-10 New Zealand v India at Old Trafford

New Zealand: 239/8 (Taylor 74, Williamson 67, Kumar 3-43, Jadeja 1-34)

India: 221 (Jadeja 77, Dhoni 50, Henry 3-37, Santner 2-34)

Full scorecard:

Ball dominated the bat as New Zealand beat India in a thriller at Old Trafford.

Ross Taylor (74) and Kane Williamson (67) set up a New Zealand total that was affected by rain which saw the game go into a reserve day.

Despite it being a below-par total, New Zealand were able to defend it as their bowlers dismantled the India top order before a late fightback from Ravindra Jadeja (77) and MS Dhoni (50) saw the game swing India’s way.

However, a combination of superb fielding and confident bowling in the final overs saw the Kiwis win the game by 18 runs as they moved on to back-to-back World Cup finals.

New Zealand batted first after winning the toss but started their innings in the worst way, out-of-form batsman Martin Guptill out for one in the third over.

Henry Nicholls and Williamson steadied things for New Zealand with a 68-run partnership in 15 overs.

Jadeja broke the stand as a delivery spun sharply to bowl Nicholls for 28.

Williamson and Taylor then added another steady partnership for New Zealand with 65 in 17 overs.

Just as New Zealand looked to push on, India struck again, Williamson slapping a ball from Yuzvendra Chahal to Jadeja at point.

India continued to halt New Zealand’s push for runs as James Neesham (12) and Colin de Grandhomme (16) were both removed before they could accelerate the run rate.

Tom Latham joined Taylor, but New Zealand were then halted in another way as the rain intervened and forced the players off for the rest of the day.

New Zealand resumed their last four overs of their innings the following day, hitting 30 runs but losing three wickets as they finished on 239/8.

India’s reply started catastrophically as they collapsed to 24 for four with Matt Henry claiming KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma for one as well as dismissing Dinesh Karthik for six.

Trent Boult also chipped in as he claimed the massive wicket of Virat Kohli for one to leave India’s reply in tatters.

Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya somewhat repaired the early damage with a 47-run partnership.

New Zealand then pegged India back again as their excellent swing bowling turned into excellent spin bowling when Mitchell Santner came on and removed both Pant (32) and Pandya (32) to put New Zealand in touching distance.

However, when Jadeja and Dhoni added 116 for the seventh wicket the game suddenly turned India’s way.

Trent Boult had other ideas when he caused Jadeja to sky a ball straight up in the air for him to be caught by Kane Williamson to leave India needing 32 off 13 balls, with only three wickets in hand.

It was down to MS Dhoni – a man known for finishing games under the unlikeliest circumstances and it looked like he would do it again as he smashed the first ball of the 49th over for six off Lockie Ferguson.

It often takes a bit of magic to dismiss Dhoni and this is exactly what New Zealand got, Guptill tearing in from the boundary picking up the ball and hitting the stumps with one to aim at to catch the Indian wicketkeeper short.

New Zealand then finished the job when Ferguson bowled Kumar for a golden duck before James Neesham had Chahal caught by wicket-keeper Latham for five to put them into the final.

MOTM: Matt Henry – His decimation of the Indian top-order put New Zealand on top within the first few overs which put the pressure on India throughout the entire game.

Thursday July 11 Australia v England at Edgbaston

Australia: 223 (Smith 85, Carey 46, Woakes 3-20, Rashid 3-54)

England: 226/2 (Roy 85, Root 49no, Cummins 1-34, Starc 1-70)

Full scorecard:

England strolled to victory at Edgbaston to reach their first final since 1992.

The English bowling completely dominated the Australian order with only Steve Smith and Alex Carey providing any major resistance as Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid took three wickets each.

England’s response saw them stick to the cricket that has revamped their white-ball scene as they knocked off the target in just 32 overs.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia’s innings started awfully as the England bowlers reduced them to 14 for three with big threats David Warner (9) and Aaron Finch (0) sent back to the pavilion.

Steve Smith and Alex Carey got Australia back on track with a 113-run partnership.

However, Adil Rashid broke the stand when Carey was caught by sub-fielder James Vince on the boundary before he then trapped Marcus Stoinis lbw for a two-ball duck to put England back on top.

Glenn Maxwell and Smith added a handy 39-run partnership, but England struck twice again to halt the Aussies progress, Maxwell caught by Eoin Morgan at cover off Jofra Archer for 22 before Pat Cummins handed Rashid a third wicket when he was caught at slip by Joe Root for six.

Despite England taking wickets, Australia still had Smith at the crease and he frustrated England with a 40-run partnership with Mitchell Starc.

It took a bit of brilliance from Jos Buttler to remove Smith as when the former Aussie captain chanced a leg bye off Woakes, Buttler picked up the ball and threw it from his position behind the stumps, through the legs of Smith at the non-strikers end to hit the stumps and run him out for 85.

Woakes then removed Starc the next ball, Buttler again involved as he took the catch behind the stumps before Mark Wood ended the Australian innings as he bowled Jason Behrendorff for one.

England’s reply got off to an electric start as Roy and Jonny Bairstow hit a 124-run partnership in just 17 overs.

Bairstow was trapped lbw for 34 by Starc before Roy was caught by wicketkeeper Carey off Cummins for 85 but not before he smashed 21 off Smith’s only over.

Root and Morgan came in and comfortably negotiated the remaining runs to see England into the final.

MOTM: Jason Roy – whilst Woakes setup the victory for England, they had failed to chase small totals like this one before in this World Cup, but Roy’s ruthless hitting allowed the middle order to come in and calmly knock the ball around to take them to their total.

Well, what a couple of games and we now know our finalists.

New Zealand had a great start to the group stage but despite a poor end, they showed why they are not to be messed with by taking down India with ease.

Whilst it looked England may be crashing out after defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia they are now in the final and have the chance the avenge the embarrassment of four years ago and complete their white-ball recovery.

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Stay tuned for our summary on the Final of the Cricket World Cup!

Sub-edited by Tony Robertson

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July 2024