Bengaluru, July 8: Two-time champions India will take on 2015 finalists New Zealand in the first semifinal of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford on Tuesday (July 9).
Though India will be playing their seventh World Cup semifinal and the Black Caps their eighth in Manchester, these two teams will be locking horns in a World Cup semifinal for the first time.
In fact, India and New Zealand have never locked horns in any knock-out game at the quadrennial showpiece ever.
In other tournaments, too, India and New Zealand have not been known rivals at the business end. The Kiwis have a far less impressive record compared to India in winning knock-out games and titles although they lead India 4-3 at the World Cup.
NZ beat India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2000
The only time India and New Zealand have met at a big match was way back in 2000 when they played each other in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy or the mini World Cup as it was known then.
It was the second edition of the tournament in which India played smart throughout to beat top teams like Australia and South Africa to reach the final. New Zealand, on the other hand, beat Zimbabwe and Pakistan to reach the title clash.
In the final, Kiwis captain Stephen Fleming won the toss and sent Sourav Ganguly's India to bat first. An in-form Ganguly hit his second consecutive hundred (117) after the ton against The Proteas in the semifinal while Sachin Tendulkar made 69. India were off to a flying start with the openers putting up 141 runs in less than 27 overs when Tendulkar fell. The Men in Blue couldn't continue with the momentum thereafter and ended up with 264 for six in 50 overs. Scot Styris took two for 53 as the most successful Kiwi bowler.
The Indian bowlers struck back early to reduce New Zealand to 37 for two and then 109 for four. Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble took early wickets and when Tendulkar chipped in with the wicket of Craig McMillian in the 24th over to leave the Kiwis at 132 for five, it seemed India were in the driver's seat.
But one man stood out in the rest of the game and it was Chris Cairns, one of the best all-rounders New Zealand have produced. He counter-attacked to score a brilliant unbeaten hundred (102 off 113 balls) and was given a worthy company by another Chris - Harris --who made 46. The two added 122 runs for the sixth wicket to take the game away from India. When Prasad took the wicket of Harris, NZ were left to score 11 runs in nine balls and they won it with two balls to spare. Prasad was the best Indian bowler with three for 27 in seven overs.
New Zealand won by four wickets to bag their only ICC trophy till date (they came close to winning their biggest in 2015 but fell at the final hurdle) with Cairns bagging the man of the match award.