A Kiwi flight that shattered a billion dreams!

The rain-hit World Cup semifinal played over two days at Old Trafford, turned out to be a low-scoring affair, with New Zealand putting up 239 for eight against India and then successfully defending it by 18 runs.

Matt Henry of New Zealand celebrates after Jimmy Neesham takes a stunning catch to dismiss India’s Dinesh Karthik.   -  Getty Images

Nothing went right for Martin Guptill in this World Cup — till the semifinal against India.

Opening the innings for New Zealand, he failed to get off to good starts and his confidence had clearly hit rock bottom — until his direct hit ran out Mahendra Singh Dhoni and crashed India’s hopes of reaching the final.

The rain-hit World Cup semifinal played over two days at Old Trafford, turned out to be a low-scoring affair, with New Zealand putting up 239 for eight and then successfully defending it by 18 runs.

Resuming at 211-5 after rain ended play prematurely on the first day, New Zealand added 28 runs in the remaining 3.5 overs, with Ross Taylor scoring 74.

Possessing a strong batting line-up, the target looked far from challenging for India. But then, an unprecedented top-order collapse led to the tournament favourite losing the plot. A giddy 45-minute spell of high-class pace bowling by New Zealand saw India reeling at five for three, with its top three batsmen — Rohit Sharma, K. L. Rahul and Virat Kohli — back in the pavilion.

India never really recovered from there, despite Ravindra Jadeja (77 in 59 balls) and Dhoni (50) putting together a record 116-run stand for the seventh wicket. Finding the team hanging on a cliff, Dhoni — an expert finisher — anchored one end, allowing Jadeja to play his shots. The two took the game to a position where India needed 37 runs, with three overs remaining.

However, there was no miracle as Jadeja was caught by Kane Williamson off Trent Boult and Dhoni was run out, in successive overs. With the two gone, India required 24 off nine balls — which proved too much for the tail-enders.

In the post-match interaction, India captain Kohli admitted that it was heart-breaking to not hunt down a ‘chaseable’ total. But with the batsmen struggling against the seaming and swinging deliveries of Matt Henry and Trent Boult, there was no way India could bounce back.

As clouds played hide and seek, the stands were two-thirds empty at Old Trafford on the second day and did not fill up despite a thrilling finish.

Brief scores: New Zealand 239 for eight in 50 overs (Ross Taylor 74, Kane Williamson 67; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-43) beat India 221 in 49.3 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 77, M. S. Dhoni 50; Matt Henry 3-37, Trent Boult 2-42, Mitchell Santner 2-34). Player of the match: Matt Henry.