India and New Zealand will take on each other in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday. These two teams never played against each other in the semis although India will be playing its 7th semi-final in which India advanced to finals 3 times while New Zealand will be playing its 8th and advanced to finals only once.
Let’s look into the five most significant semis played by these two teams in the World Cup history.
India v England, World Cup Semi-final, 1983
India, for the first time in 3 World Cups, reached the knock-out round. Against the host nation England, India chased down a target of 214 in less than 55 overs, During those days in England, ODIs were 60 overs a side affair.
England, after winning the toss decided to bat first, couldn’t score a considerable score even though the openers gave them a solid start of 69 runs. Under those conditions, Indian bowlers were much more effective, especially the medium pacers. Kapil Dev (3), Roger Binny (2) and Mohinder Amarnath (2) took 7 out of 10 wickets fell in the innings.
India batted with grit and determination to chase down the modest total of 213. Every batsman pitched in with a useful contribution and a 92 runs partnership between Amarnath (46) and Yashpal Sharma (61), put India in control. A quickfire 51 off 32 by Sandeep Patil won the game for India with more than 30 balls left in the innings.
Mohinder Amarnath won the man of the match and India reached its first World Cup final. The rest is history.
New Zealand v Pakistan, World Cup Semi-final, 1992
New Zealand was playing at home, has won almost all the games before reaching the semis and were favorites to win the tournament but alas they couldn’t.
In-home conditions, New Zealand, opted to bat first against Pakistan at Auckland. They smashed 262 runs in 50 overs with the help of their captain Martin Crowe’s 91 runs innings. During those days anything above 250 was a winning total yet New Zealand lost the game. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 60 in the semi-final scuppered New Zealand’s dream when the required run rate was over 7.
New Zealand’s captain Martin Crowe had to decide whether to rest in the 1992 semi-final against Pakistan or risk aggravating his injury (so that he can be fit for the finals). He chose to sit out and watched in agony as it all went to pieces. Pakistan went on to win the World Cup.
India v Sri Lanka, World Cup Semi-final, 1996
Quite an absurd result for a knockout game of such a big tournament, Sri Lanka was advanced to finals due to crowd trouble.
After winning the toss, India decided to bowl in pressure game due to the result of a group match in the tournament against Sri Lanka, where Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana blasted the Indian bowlers. In the semis, both Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana got out in the very first over of the match. All looked good for India, but Aravinda de Silva’s masterclass in batting stunned India, he smashed bowlers all over the park and scored 66 off just 47 balls. Sri Lanka made 251 in 50 overs.
India was cruising when Tendulkar (65) and Manjrekar (25) were batting together; the duo added 90 runs for the second wicket before Tendulkar was stumped Kaluwitharana off Jayasuriya. That’s where the collapse began, and from 98 for 1 India was reduced to 120 for 8. The crowd at Eden Gardens threw bottles on to the outfield and set fire to the seating. Match Referee Clive Lloyd awarded the match to Sri Lanka due to crow trouble. Sri Lanka won its first World Cup title a few days later.
India v Pakistan, World Cup Semi-final, 2011
The most anticipated match of the World Cup 2011, when the arch-rivals India and Pakistan faced each other in the semis at Mohali. Both sides Prime Ministers were present that day in the stadium to watch the match.
India after winning the toss decided to bat first and got off to a flying start as Sehwag scored 38 off just 25 balls. But the moment of the match was when Sachin Tendulkar was given not out by the third umpire after the on-field umpire declared him LBW. Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal is still clueless about the decision and has said that he is still not sure how Decision Review System (DRS) overturned on-field umpire Ian Gould’s lbw ruling against Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar (85) was dropped four times in the innings, which helped India to reach a respectable total of 260 in 50 overs. India bowlers bowled tight line and length to Pakistani batsmen, which didn’t let them score freely. Pakistan bowled out for 231 runs; all 5 Indian bowlers took two wickets each and India advanced into the finals of World Cup 2011.
New Zealand v South Africa, World Cup Semi-final, 2015
Another home semi-final for New Zealand. This time they were playing South Africa at the same venue where they played the semi-final of World Cup 1992. Both these two teams have been into semis but never advanced to the Final, so it was clear that one of them will play their first World Cup final.
Batting first, South Africa started well and were cruising to a massive total before the rain-interrupted the game in the 38th over of their innings. At that stage of the game, South Africa was 216 for 3, and the match was reduced to 43 overs a side. South Africa added 65 runs in the next five overs, thanks to Miller’s 49 off just 18 balls.
In reply, chasing 299 in 43 overs, the Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum went berserk by smashing 59 off 26 balls. South Africa made a come back when they dismissed Guptill and Taylor in the space of 4 overs, but Elliot and Anderson kept the nerves by adding 103 runs less than 16 overs. With six required in the last two balls, Elliot smashed the penultimate ball out of the stadium and won the match for New Zealand.
New Zealand thus advanced to the finals for the first time in World Cup history.
Cricket enthusiast, Tendulkar fan and a traveler !