India strike as New Zealand struggle early in World Cup semi-final

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New Zealand lost opener Martin Guptill with just one run on the board as they struggled to 27-1 off 10 overs against tight India bowling in their World Cup semi-final at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The Black Caps’ score was the lowest after the first 10-over powerplay at the tournament so far.

Henry Nicholls was 10 not out and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson 14 not out.

All five previous matches in the tournament at Old Trafford had been won by the side batting first, so Williamson’s decision to bat after winning the toss was understandable.

But, Williamson apart, the Black Caps’ top order has struggled at the World Cup and the overcast conditions in Manchester on Tuesday allied to a fresh pitch always promised to assist India’s impressive pace attack.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar appealed for lbw against Guptill off the first ball of the match and an India review of the original not out decision proved unsuccessful, with replays indicating the ball would have gone down the legside.

It took New Zealand 17 balls to score the first run of the match and India did not have long to wait for Guptill’s wicket in any event.

The right-hander, the leading run-scorer of the tournament when New Zealand finished runners-up at the 2015 World Cup, had made just one when he fended carelessly outside off-stump against a rising Jasprit Bumrah delivery and was well caught, head-high, by India captain Virat Kohli at second slip.

Guptill’s fifth single-figure score of the tournament left New Zealand 1-1 in the fourth over.

His exit brought in Williamson, who prior to Tuesday’s match had scored over 28 percent of New Zealand’s runs this tournament – a remarkably high percentage for one batsman.

Left-hander Nicholls eventually struck the opening boundary of the match when he cover-drove Bumrah for four in the eighth over to reach his first double-figure score of the tournament.

Bumrah’s first spell yielded fine figures of one wicket for 10 runs in four overs.

India or New Zealand will face the winners of Thursday’s second semi-final between hosts England and reigning champions Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday in the July 14 final at Lord’s.