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:
Got off with a convincing victory
New Zealand 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 to wrap the Sri Lankan innings on 136. In response, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro completed their respective half-centuries each as New Zealand chased down the target in just 16.1 overs.
Struggled against Bangladesh
However, the scenario changed in the following game as it turned out to be a nail-biting contest. Just three days after defeating South Africa by 21 runs, Bangladesh almost pulled up another upset in the World Cup as New Zealand struggled to chase down a challenging 244. However, Kiwi veteran Ross Taylor remained firm at one end and scored 85, helping his side win the contest by two wickets.
Pakistan halt Kiwi winning spree
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 poor form continues
The team’s weak batting line-up was once again exposed 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 bundle out Kiwis on 157.
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 went into the contest after securing a 31-run win over India, carried forward the momentum and produced another clinical performance, dismantling 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 were all 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.