(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –India’s “45 minutes of bad cricket” against New Zealand cost them a place in the World Cup final and “broke our hearts,” says captain Virat Kohli.
Chasing 240 for victory, India were reduced to 5-3 inside the first four overs and ultimately fell to a tight 18-run defeat at Old Trafford.
“It breaks our hearts because you work so hard to build momentum and finish number one in the table,” Kohli said.
“Then, a spell of bad cricket, and you’re out of the tournament.”
He added: “But you have to accept it. We will come out better cricketers because of this setback.”
Kohli himself was dismissed lbw to the 16th ball of the innings and, despite a thrilling late flurry from Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni, India fell just short.
India looked to be in control of the match, having limited New Zealand to 239-8 on a slow pitch.
Although the match was forced into a reserve day because of persistent rain on Tuesday, the ground was mostly full of India fans and Kohli’s side were among the pre-tournament favourites.
However, New Zealand’s brilliance with the new ball ripped their top-order apart, and meant chasing 240 would always be an uphill struggle.
“The game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes,” Kohli said.
“The pressure was immense. When you lost three wickets for five runs, it is very difficult to come back into the game.
“We played outstanding cricket throughout this tournament. We’re very disappointed.”
New Zealand qualified in the fourth semi-final place and arrived at Old Trafford having lost their final three group matches against Pakistan, Australia and England.
Their batting at Old Trafford was hardly fluent – although that may have had something to do with the pitch – but their outstanding bowling secured their final place.
Matt Henry was brilliant to finish with 3-37, while Trent Boult took 2-42 and spinner Mitchell Santner 2-34.
Two moments of brilliance in the field – a low catch from Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill’s direct hit to dismiss Dhoni – also contributed to a stunning win.
They will now face either England or Australia in Sunday’s showpiece final at Lord’s.
“It was a brilliant fighting effort on what was a tough surface,” Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said.
“To have the start we had was an outstanding way to try and kick things off and get into a position of strength.” (