By Liam Napier in Manchester
Five key talking points from the Black Caps' dramatic 18-run win over India in the Cricket World Cup semifinal.
Prosecco for the bowling attack (champagne only for the final):
From game one in Cardiff, since rolling Sri Lanka for 136 inside 17 overs, the attack has led the way. Conditions and pitches have assisted, and the Black Caps capitalised. Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and, now, Matt Henry all enjoyed days turning it on. Jimmy Neesham has often chimed in, too. Colin de Grandhomme less so in later games.
Henry dismissed KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to set the Black Caps alight in pursuit of the final. As the architect of the clamps and middle order collapse, Mitchell Santner also saved his best for India.
If the top order finally clicks, a big ask on the grand stage, you've got to back this New Zealand attack to bring it home.
The India and New Zealand teams clearly share a mutual respect. Continuing that theme, Virat Kohli was (mostly) gracious in defeat, apart from complaining about how the format could be tweaked to give those who finish first a second chance.
Here's his insight on the Black Caps:
"I wasn't surprised at all with how New Zealand played. We knew there's only one or two sides in world cricket that puts seven fielders in the ring. We knew they were going to attack more and not let the game go to the end or take it deep they would just go all out and play that way. I've seen them play that way. Today also third man was up in the ring, you had five catching fielders.
"They know how to build pressure because they play good consistent cricket and today was an example of that."
And what of New Zealand's chances in the final?
"If conditions are good to bat then they'll have to bat really well. If conditions are bowler friendly and they put enough runs on the board they become a dangerous side as you saw in this game. It's anyone's game on the day."
Free for all! Prime to show Cricket World Cup final live
Who was good, who was great? Black Caps v India player ratings
Kohli reveals Black Caps' tactic that won the semifinal
Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson:
The maturity and nous from the two experienced hands to immediately recognise the situation, read the pitch and identify a competitive total inspired the essence of belief for victory. They knew how difficult the surface was to bat on; knew they'd given their attack a fair fighting chance. The Williamson-Taylor backbone has received minimal assistance from opening combinations – imagine how they may go after a proper start. Henry Nicholls offered promising signs before falling to Indian spin while enduring hamstring issues that then prevented him from fielding. Nicholls' injury could open the door again to Colin Munro, though Williamson said the fielding switch for Tim Southee was a precautionary move.
New Zealand will again rely heavily on their leaders for the final. Second time around in the big dance for many, they should not be overawed.
On the subject of fielding:
Nice to see a return to supreme standards. The Black Caps saved 25-plus runs in the field against India – on the rope, in the circle, off the follow through. Martin Guptill's side-on direct hit sent MS Dhoni into retirement and nailed India's coffin shut – what a way to do it – after Jimmy Neesham's freak reaction dive claimed the catch of the tournament. Kane Williamson also made two very difficult skied catches look far too easy.
When the Black Caps field like this there is no one better. As Williamson said of Guptill's run out, inspiring contributions come in many forms.
England over Australia:
Heard many differing views on this but I'll make a brief case for England in the final. Lockie Ferguson didn't play in the Durham loss so there is that element of surprise for the hosts. The sense of occasion would amplify, which could work in the Black Caps' favour. Home final, home pressure, and all that comes from those expectations and hype – even if it is only for three days. For the neutral either way there would be a new ODI World Cup winner. And who really wants to see Mitchell Starc in the final again?
Win a trip to London for the Black Caps' big weekend
Thanks to Air NZ, we have a trip for two to London this weekend for one lucky NZ Herald Premium/print subscriber including return premium economy flights, three nights' accommodation in London and $1000 spending money.
Winner to be announced live on air after 8am on Radio Sport and at nzherald.co.nz on Friday morning.
Winner and guest will need a valid NZ passport and to be available to fly 9.45pm Friday 12 July (NZT), returning Tuesday 16 July (UKT). Winner must be an active paid NZ Herald digital or print subscriber or NZME Regional print subscriber at the time competition closes (5am Friday 12 July, 2019) and to have entered by submitting the form below.