The 1st semi-final of the 2019 World Cup between India and New Zealand moved into a reserve day after persistent rain forced the umpires to call off the game on Tuesday and resume play on Wednesday.
Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 67 — the same score made by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson — and was starting to get on top of India's bowlers for the first time before forecasted showers arrived over the Manchester ground at 2 PM local time and the Black Caps were forced to walk off the field with their score on 211/5 from 46.1 overs.
The rain lasted throughout the afternoon. The covers briefly came off the outfield at 5.30 p.m. and officials had an inspection, only for play to be abandoned for the day 50 minutes later.
The teams will return on Wednesday — the designated reserve day for the first semifinal — and the Black Caps will resume an innings that started very slowly and barely picked up pace after they won the toss.
This is the first time in World Cup history that a knock-out match has been forced to move into the reserve day. However, this is not the first time a World Cup match has been moved into a reserve day. In the 1979 edition, many matches were moved into a reserve due to rain. The only knockout game till date that was played on a reserve day was the final of the 2002 Champions Trophy when India and Sri Lanka were forced to play on a reserve day but the following day was washed out as well and the two teams shared the trophy.
Earlier, India's tight and disciplined bowling effort strangled New Zealand, which was 10-1 after seven overs and just 27-1 after 10 overs — the lowest score by any side in this tournament after the opening powerplay.
The pitch looked increasingly sluggish, preventing the Black Caps from even accelerating in the middle part of the innings after being tied down at 83-2 after 25 overs.
Williamson was forced to come in early once again following the dismissal of the out-of-form Martin Guptill for 1. India's pacemen bowled a good line and length while also getting some movement under cloudy skies.
But they failed to seriously up the run rate, with Taylor in particular regularly mistiming his shots. Still, he hung around until the final overs and was unloading before the rain came. The 44th over, off Yuzvendra Chahal, went for 18 runs, by far the best of the innings for New Zealand.
Chahal had the most expensive figures of 1-63 off 10 overs but he did get the prized wicket of Williamson, who chopped a top-edge to Jadeja at point.
Jimmy Neesham (12) and Colin de Grandhomme (16) quickly came and went, and Tom Latham was in the middle on 3 with Taylor when play was stopped.
The reserve day will see a continuation of the match, not a restart. Umpires can, if necessary, reduce the number of overs to a minimum of 20 per side, which is needed to achieve a result.
If there is no result, India would advance courtesy of finishing higher in the group standings. They were first and New Zealand was fourth.
The winner plays England or Australia in the final at Lord's on Sunday. The second semifinal is at Edgbaston on Thursday.
(With inputs from AP)