The first Cricket World Cup semifinal will run into a second day after persistent rain prematurely ended play on Tuesday with New Zealand laboring to 211-5 against India at Old Trafford, with 3.5 overs still to bat in the innings. The rain lasted throughout the afternoon. The covers briefly came off the outfield and officials held an inspection, only for play to be abandoned for the day 50 minutes later.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wife Sakshi took to her Instagram handle LIVE (four times) to notify her fans about what was happening on field. Sakshi was heard screaming with joy in the video saying: "Good news, happy news, the covers are off again." But immediately, the next live video had her all disappointed. She said: "Bad news, it's raining again. Why is it raining again. Upsetting. Now, I am going to start sulking. The third video again had her saying: "They've put the covers back and bad news! Why are they back? It's raining again". And the last live had shots of water being present on the field and how the officials had stepped in to inspect. She feared that people might be slipping on field.
India's tight and disciplined bowling effort strangled New Zealand, which was 10-1 after seven overs and just 27-1 after 10 overs — the lowest score by any side in this tournament after the opening powerplay. The pitch looked increasingly sluggish, preventing the Black Caps from even accelerating in the middle part of the innings after being tied down at 83-2 after 25 overs.
Williamson was forced to come in early once again following the dismissal of the out-of-form Martin Guptill for 1. India's pacemen bowled a good line and length while also getting some movement under cloudy skies. Jasprit Bumrah was especially economical, snaring Guptill with a lifter that drew an edge high to Virat Kohli at second slip. He had figures of 1-25 off eight overs.
Henry Nicholls was next to go when bowled through the gate by Ravindra Jadeja for 28, leaving New Zealand with Williamson and Taylor, its two best batsmen. But they failed to seriously up the run rate, with Taylor in particular regularly mistiming his shots. Still, he hung around until the final overs and was unloading before the rain came. The 44th over, off Yuzvendra Chahal, went for 18 runs, by far the best of the innings for New Zealand.
Chahal had the most expensive figures of 1-63 off 10 overs but he did get the prized wicket of Williamson, who chopped a top-edge to Jadeja at point. Jimmy Neesham (12) and Colin de Grandhomme (16) quickly came and went, and Tom Latham was in the middle on 3 with Taylor when play was stopped.
The reserve day will see a continuation of the match, not a restart. Umpires can, if necessary, reduce the number of overs to a minimum of 20 per side, which is needed to achieve a result. If there is no result, India would advance courtesy of finishing higher in the group standings. They were first and New Zealand was fourth.
The winner plays England or Australia in the final at Lord's on Sunday. The second semifinal is at Edgbaston on Thursday.
(With inputs from AP)