Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team were expected to march into the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 against a New Zealand side that had lost three games. On a sluggish pitch, New Zealand managed to make 239/8 thanks to fifties from Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson. However, New Zealand put up an inspired bowling performance. Matt Henry removed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul cheaply while Trent Boult got rid of Virat Kohli for 1. When Dinesh Karthik fell for 6, India was in trouble. Despite a partnership of 116 runs between MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, New Zealand held on and won by 18 runs to reach the final for the second consecutive time.
Speaking in the post-match presentation, Kohli admitted that the start India got was the prime reason India fell short in the chase. “I am not surprised with the way how New Zealand play. We knew they were going to attack. Always feels bad when you play well all tournament and then 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out. The perfect line and length forced us to make errors. It is very difficult to come back after being 5/3 but our effort was commendable,” Kohli said.
India was staring down the barrel at 92/6 in the 35th over but MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja steadied the ship and counter-attacked in style. While Jadeja found the boundaries at will, Dhoni was content to play the sheet anchor role. However, Dhoni consumed quietly a few deliveries and the scoring rate pressure mounted. Kohli, though, said someone had to hold one end up as Jadeja and Dhoni were the last recognised batting pair.
“I think he (Dhoni) was batting with Jaddu. He needed to hold one end up. We needed a solid partnership. It had to be the right balance of holding one end up and aggressive. They played in different manners. One has to understand how deep the game went. It was the perfect tempo for the way how the game played,” Kohli said.
New Zealand will now be facing the winner of Australia vs England clash and they could be aiming to go one better than 2015 World Cup, in which they lost to Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in what was a one-sided game.