Kane Williamson hailed New Zealand’s spirit as they beat India by 18 runs to seal another Cricket World Cup final appearance.
All hope looked lost for the Black Caps in the semi-final at Old Trafford after their batting line up was restricted to 239 against the world’s best one-day international side - with Williamson himself scoring 67.
But led by Matt Henry and Trent Boult, the Black Caps decimated India’s openers as the prolific Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli departed - leaving them 5-3.
A spirited revival by the legendary MS Dhoni and Ravi Jadeja almost lifted India to an astonishing recovery - but Williamson’s side proved too strong at the death.
The win ensured New Zealand will feature in a second consecutive World Cup final.
The 28-year-old talisman said: “A really tough match, a great semi-final over two days for the crowd. Very pleased to be on the right side of it.
“It was really tough. We had to assess the conditions quickly and looking at the surface I think both teams thought it was going to be a lot higher-scoring than that.
“It was really nice to get some early wickets from some guys who have been playing brilliant cricket throughout this tournament, so a great start for the bowlers.
“But we also knew that as it slowed up it was going to be a tough squeeze, so we needed to stay in the game for long periods and the world-class side that they are, being under so much pressure, to take the game to a stage where they could still potentially win it… the heart shown in the fielding effort and the bowlers from our side was outstanding.”
Henry proved player of the match - knocking over KL Rahul and Rohit early, who has been in unstoppable form all tournament.
The bowler, who finished with figures of 3-37, hailed New Zealand’s self-belief as a pivotal factor behind their shock win.
He told media after the match: “I thought we managed to scrap it out. We had the belief - we knew we had to bowl well.
“Obviously, they are world-class batsmen - Hardik, Dhoni and Jadeja - we knew to win the game we had to get them out.
“It's very special and thanks to the New Zealand supporters out there.”
“Look, we talked about just making we do the best we can and play the way we can,” he added.
“We started out with the ball and just tried to create pressure. We just had to ask a lot of questions against the best batting line-up.”
England or Australia await in Sunday’s final.
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