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Former cricketers critical of the Old Trafford wicket for India vs New Zealand semi-final

New Zealand have managed a run rate of just about 4 in the first 40 overs.

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Old Trafford in Manchester was ready to host the first semi-final of World Cup 2019. Team India the table-toppers took on New Zealand the fourth-placed team. Most people had expected Australia to be playing here as they held the first position for a while before losing the final game to South Africa. A fresh new pitch is being used for this contest and Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first.

Though conditions were overcast the pitch did look hard and good for batting. Both the captains at the toss admitted that they would’ve wanted to bat first and post runs on the board. The two Indian seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah got off to a great start not giving anything away. The ball was moving around a bit and they stuck to the right lines, in fact, with a player like Martin Guptill in the middle, New Zealand just had 1 run on the board after 3 overs.

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Guptill succumbed to the pressure and was dismissed for a 14-ball 1 caught at slip. Henry Nicholls and Williamson then had a partnership where they didn’t allow the bowlers to make insurgency but couldn’t score the runs either. Jadeja got the better of Nicholls breaching past his defence. Then their most trusted pair of Williamson and Ross Taylor was out there in the middle.

The Kiwi skipper got to another fifty but failed to accelerate and perished to Yuzvendra Chahal for 67 off 95 balls. All this while batting appeared like a struggle and the fact that Indian bowlers didn’t give anything easy made matters worse. New Zealand could just manage 11 boundaries in 42 overs and had over 170 runs on the board for the loss of 4 wickets.

Former cricketers critical of the pitch

Commentators and former cricketers observing the match weren’t pleased with the sort of surface that was rolled out for the match. Mark Waugh said- “Doesn’t look a great pitch at Old Trafford. Very much on the slow side and offering sone turn. If NZ can somehow get to 240 they will be in the game.”

Mark Butcher, largely was disappointed with the pitches used for the whole of the tournament and termed it garbage. He wrote- “Sorry, but pitches have been garbage this tournament.”

“Uneven, two-paced, shit heaps MIGHT give you an exciting 5 overs at the end of a run chase, but you’ve scared everybody off in the previous 95. Crap.”

 

Sanjay Manjrekar’s assessment of the situation was – “My reading of the situation – NZ have read this pitch as excruciatingly slow and reckon chasing team may find it even more difficult. So being pragmatic and not aiming too high.”

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