Manchester: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson again helped his side recover from the loss of an early wicket as the Black Caps reached 83-2 at the halfway stage of their innings in the World Cup semi-final against India at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Kane Williamson reached his half-century, the fourth of the New Zealand captain's brilliant Cricket World Cup campaign. It has come off 79 balls and was brought up in the 30th over.
New Zealand lost opener Martin Guptill with just one run on the board and crawled to 27-1 off the first 10 overs.
All five previous matches in the tournament at Old Trafford had been won by the side batting first, so Williamson's decision at 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 offering some seam movement 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 was the leading run-scorer of the tournament when New Zealand finished runners-up at the 2015 World Cup.
But he 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 Henry 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 opening spell still yielded fine figures of one wicket for 10 runs in four overs.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja ended a second-wicket stand worth 68 when he turned one between bat and pad to bowl Nicholls for 28.
India or New Zealand will face the winners of Thursday's second semi-final between hosts England and reigning champions Australia in the July 14 final at Lord's....