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Rain forces World Cup semi between India, NZ into 2nd day

July 9, 2019
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A super sopper is used to remove water after rain stopped play during the Cricket World Cup semi-final match between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The first Cricket World Cup semifinal will run into a second day after persistent rain prematurely ended play on Tuesday with New Zealand laboring to 211-5 against India at Old Trafford, with 3.5 overs still to bat in the innings.

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 p.m. local time.

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.

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.

Jasprit Bumrah was especially economical, snaring Guptill with a lifter that drew an edge high to Virat Kohli at second slip. He had figures of 1-25 off eight overs.

Henry Nicholls was next to go when bowled through the gate by Ravindra Jadeja for 28, leaving New Zealand with Williamson and Taylor, its two best batsmen.

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.

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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

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