New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) England captain Eoin Morgan had said that New Zealand were the best side in the group stages of the World Cup and a look through the results would tell you that he was not far from the truth.
They finished fourth in the table due to a dip in form towards the end of the group stages and a washed out match, but the Kiwis were one of the dominant sides for much of this tournament. IANS takes a look at their journey to the final, where New Zealand will clash with hosts England at the Lord’s on Sunday.
vs Sri lanka (June 1)
Result: New Zealand won by 10 wickets
Although strong performances like these were common throughout the tournament for New Zealand, this was an anomaly given that their openers never fired in this manner again. Matt Henry and Trent Boult picked three wickets each to dismiss Sri Lanka for 137 before openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro chased down the total in just over 16 overs.
vs Bangladesh (June 5)
Result: New Zealand won by 2 wickets
Matt Henry’s four-fer helped New Zealand dismiss Bangladesh for 244 but it took a 105-run stand between skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor to resurrect the run chase after the Kiwis lost their first two wickets within the first 10 overs. Williamson was eventually dismissed in the 32nd over for 40 and Taylor a few overs later for 82. But the lower order easily saw the game out.
vs Afghanistan (June 8)
Result: New Zealand won by 7 wickets
Lockie Ferguson and Jimmy Neesham were on the Afghanistan batsmen like a rash, picking four and five wickets, respectively. Only four Afghanistan batsmen managed to get double digit scores. Williamson was unbeaten on 79 and his 89-run stand with Taylor ended any chances that the Afghan players were nursing after they got the first two wickets quickly.
vs India (June 13)
Result: Match abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled
vs South Africa (June 19)
Result: New Zealand won by 4 wickets
The first time New Zealand were truly tested in the tournament. The beleaguered South African side were limited 241/6 largely thanks to Ferguson’s three-fer. Munro and Guptill failed to fire once again as Chris Morris ran through the Kiwi middle order. But Williamson’s 57-run stand with Neesham and a 91-run partnership with Colin de Grandhomme got them close. Williamson was unbeaten on 105 as New Zealand won the match by four wickets with just three balls in hand.
vs West Indies (June 22)
Result: New Zealand won by 5 runs
Arguably one of the matches of the tournament. New Zealand batted first and Williamson shone once again with a masterful 148. Sheldon Cottreel picked up four wickets as New Zealand ended their innings on 291/8. Shimron Hetmyer and Chris Gayle put up a 122-run stand but West Indies kept losing wickets either side of that stand. But that was until Carlos Brathwaite started leading a stunning rear guard act. The mercurial all-rounder smashed 101 off 82 balls and it looked like he had the match in his hands when West Indies needed four to win from seven balls. However, his attempt for a big finish went awry as he holed out at long on as New Zealand won the match.
vs Pakistan (June 26)
Result: Pakistan won by 6 wickets
Saheen Afridi, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir tore through the New Zealand top order and by the time Williamson was dismissed, the Kiwis were tottering at 83/5. A 132-run stand between de Grandhomme and Neesham bailed them out and it looked like New Zealand were in with a chance when Pakistan were 110/3 in 25 overs. However, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail’s 126-run stand effectively killed the game. Babar ended the match unbeaten on 101. vs Australia (June 29)
Result: Australia won by 86 runs
Trent Boult got a hat-trick and wiped out the Australian lower order and New Zealand had a seemingly modest target of 244 to chase. Jason Behrendorff first dismissed the misfiring openers before Mitchell Starc tore into the rest of the batting line-up. While Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon all got a wicket each, Starc ended with five as New Zealand were blown away for 157.
vs England (July 3)
Result: England won by 119 runs
It was a case of bad to worse for New Zealand. After suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Australia, they were given an even harsher treatment by the hosts. England’s top two wickets contributed 194 runs and Eoin Morgan’s cameo helped push their total to 305/8. England’s five-pronged pace attack, with able assistance from Adil Rashid, blew New Zealand out of the park as the Kiwis were all out for 186.
Semifinal vs India (July 10)
Result: New Zealand won by 18 runs
The worries that arose from the hat-trick of defeats in the group stages were wiped out by what was a clinical performance that helped New Zealand overcome the mighty Indian team in the semifinal.
New Zealand’s innings was completed over the course of two days due to rain pushing the game into reserve day. The conditions worked in their favour as India lost K.L. Rahul, Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli within the first three overs. They were eventually reduced to 92/6 in 30 overs before a stunning counter by Ravindra Jadeja brought India right back into the chase. Jadeja and M.S. Dhoni put up 116 runs for the seventh wicket. Boult dismissed Jadeja in the 48th over and Dhoni fell to a brilliant Martin Guptill run out, thus putting an end to India’s fightback.