NEW DELHI: Commentator and former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, who was subjected to criticism for calling Ravindra Jadeja a "bits and pieces cricketer", finally lauded the smashing cricketer for his all-round performance against New Zealand in the semi-final of the ongoing ICC Men's Crick World Cup.
India's this semi-final match against New Zealand happens to a crucial one as its the only way the Men in Blue can make it to finals.
After a disastrous start by India's top order, MS Dhoni and Jadeja stood up to the occasion and cemented a 50-plus runs partnership.
Matt Henry and Trent Boult did the damage with the new ball as India´s top three of Rohit Sharma, - who came into match having hit a record five hundreds at a single World Cup - captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul all fell for a single apiece in pursuit of a seemingly modest target of 240.
India's captain reviewed the decision but could not get it overturned. "He timed the ball beautifully well", Williamson said.
Rishabh Pant added 47 runs with Hardik Pandya to arrest the slide and Pant made 32 before his wild heave off Santner found Colin de Grandhomme near the mid-wicket boundary.
10 overs, 24-4; Dinesh Karthik is brilliantly caught at point for six by Jimmy Neesham, diving low to his left.
Rahul refused to learn from the mistakes of the senior batsmen as he kept the bat hanging outside as a Henry delivery took the edge and landed in the hands of wicketkeeper Tom Latham.
Pandya (32) himself battled for another eight overs before he lost his patience and skied Santner into the legside where Williamson clung on to a tricky catch as he back-peddled from midwicket.
Jadeja's half-century came up from just 39 balls, a scoring rate significantly faster than any other player in the match, and as the game entered the final six overs, there was belief among the Indian supporters their side could complete an unlikely comeback. India were 175 for 6 in 43 overs.
"New Zealand deserve a lot of credit because they put up a great display how to bowl with the new ball".
It was clear that Jadeja and Dhoni were of the same mindset and as Boult prepared to bowl the 48th over, the 37 from 18 balls required seemed eminently possible. "Then to have the start with the ball we had was an outstanding way to kick things off and get us into a position of strength". It was the third consecutive occasion when Virat Kohli failed to make it count in a World Cup semi-final.
New Zealand have now entered the second final on the bounce, while India will be devastated after this win as they head back home. The skipper, in a tweet, said that the team was gutted and that they shared the emotions with their fans.
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