After failing to clinch the World Cup four years ago, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand unit have a shot at redemption as they take on England in the finals at Lords on Sunday.
After going down in the finals four years ago, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand unit have a shot at redemption as they take on England in the finals at Lords on Sunday. The team, who are bidding for their maiden World Cup glory, are riding on Williamson’s gusty form and will hope for another spectacular from their captain.
After getting off to a splendid start, New Zealand found themselves on the brink of exit and were the last team to make it to the knockout stage. Finishing the group stage, New Zealand amassed 11 points in nine matches with five wins and three defeats. The team was tied with Pakistan, who also finished with the same number of points, but due to a better net run-rate, the Kiwis managed to seal the semi-final spot.
New Zealand’s road to the finals:
They started their campaign by securing a 10-wicket victory over Sri Lanka. The pace battery comprising Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry clinched three wickets each, helping Kiwis wrap the Sri Lankan innings on 136. In response, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro slammed half-centuries each and chased down the target in just 16.1 overs.
However, the scenario changed in the following game as it turned out to be a nail-biting contest. Chasing a challenging 244, Bangladesh almost pulled another upset in the World Cup, just three days after defeating South Africa by 21 runs. However, New Zealand veteran Ross Taylor remained firm at one end and scored 85 as Kiwis won the contest by two wickets.
New Zealand, then went on to win three matches on the trot against Afghanistan, South Africa, and West Indies. However, their five-match winning spree in the tournament was brought to a halt as Pakistan defeated them by six wickets. While Kiwis struggled to add 237 on the board, Pakistan completed the chase comfortably as Babar Azam scored his maiden century in World Cup.
The team’s poor form in batting continued as they failed to chase 244 against the defending champions Australia. Trent Boult’s hattrick was subsided by Mitchell Strac’s brilliance as the Aussie pacer took five wickets to expose the weak Kiwi batting line-up, who could only manage 157 in response.
Their final league fixture against England turned out to be a virtual quarter-final, but both the sides managed to bag a spot in top four. England, who had picked up the momentum after securing a 31-run win over India, carried forward the form and produced another clincal performance to dismantle the Kiwis in all departments of the game. Batting first, the opening pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow added 123 for the first wicket. Bairstow also completed his century helping England post 305/8 in 50 overs. In response, the Kiwi batting once again crumbled as they bundled out on 186.
The semi-final between India and New Zealand was a two-day affair as rains interrupted the match and the play was resumed on the reserve day. Skipper Williamson and Taylor anchored the Kiwi innings as they managed to post 239 runs. In response, the Indian top-order failed for the first time in the tournament as India could only manage 221.
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