Prolonging the pain or a glimmer of hope?
At this point, only the most optimistic New Zealand cricket fans could clutch for the latter.
Persistent Manchester rain and the gloomy English summer keeps the Black Caps in the fight for their second World Cup final but they may need the cricketing gods to conjure a magic hooping white ball to progress from this predicament.
Cricket, more so than most other sports, harnesses many variables. Bold predictions before the midway stage are, therefore, fraught.
Quick wickets quickly change the complexion of any match but India, with a stacked side that bats nine deep, will be confident of knocking off the Black Caps – even if they slug through to 250 in their remaining 3.5 overs.
The increasingly turning, sticky Old Trafford wicket is no batting paradise but protecting that total will take some doing.
Organisers eventually made the right call by pushing this first semifinal into the reserve day.
With the Black Caps slowly scrapping their way to 211-5 in 46.1 overs, forcing India to chase 148 in 20 overs would hardly have been a fair reflection of New Zealand's on-going batting struggles.
This is a 50-over event after all. At least now this match will be decided under those parameters, leaving no room for squabbles over the equality of an abbreviated contest.
Watching the Black Caps attempt to set a challenging total was, again, a tortuous affair.
First, they were perhaps seduced by the stats which say the five previous teams batting first here went on to win.
With moisture in the air and cloud cover throughout, conditions were favourable for seam.
Trent Boult must have been twitchy.
Instead, New Zealand turned the heat up on their weaker discipline – the problem child of this World Cup.
Opting to bat first, posting a large total and building pressure throughout the chase was the chosen route.
Those ideals, though, never looked likely.
Martin Guptill's horror tournament continued – his fifth, single figure score leaving New Zealand's openers averaging 11 runs after the opening win over Sri Lanka.
Yes, returns at the top have been that dire.
Henry Nicholls did all the hard work to survive Jasprit Bumrah's tight, testing lines and zip off the pitch, only for Ravindra Jadeja to sneak through the gate, just as the makeshift opener threatened to get going.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor notched their fifth half-century partnership of the World Cup but when the skipper edged out at 134-3 in the 36th over, the go slow rebuild left plenty to do.
New Zealand did well to take 63 from Yuzvendra Chahal's 10 overs and 55 from Hardik Pandya but Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar proved too restrictive and Jadeja difficult to counter.
With Taylor at the crease, unbeaten on 67, hopes of a late flourish remain alive but he will now be forced to retrain the eyes.
With Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme, New Zealand's designated hitters, already dismissed, Taylor needs to source help clearing the fence from Tom Latham or Mitchell Santner.
Whatever total New Zealand reaches from here, conservatism that has plagued their campaign must be abandoned for all-out attack.
That should stretch to handing Lockie Ferguson the new ball in combination with Boult.
There's no point holding back now – Williamson must throw his trump cards on the table from the outset. Even then the Black Caps may need a piece of sublime fielding brilliance to complement the charge.
No Indian batsman can be allowed to settle at any stage. Let Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni get set, and it will be curtains.
A damp squib exit looms, unless New Zealand produce the bowling performance of their lives.