The BLACKCAPS were outplayed by India who sealed their spot in the Compaq Cup final with a convincing six wicket win at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bat but they couldn’t take advantage of the conditions, with a number of players getting starts but no one able to kick on a produce an innings of substance.
It was a horror start with openers Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum back in the pavilion after 14 balls – both trapped LBW by Ashish Nehra.
Three overs later Ross Taylor departed for 11 after he found the wicket keepers gloves when prodding at an RP Singh delivery to have the BLACKCAPS reeling at 19 for three.
Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott looked to consolidate, putting on 32 runs for the fourth wicket before Rahul Dravid took a sharp catch at first slip to remove Guptill for 22 off the bowling of Yuvraj Singh.
Elliott was the next to go, also for 22, when he was caught down the leg side after attempting to tickle one fine. He would consider himself unlucky after replays showed the ball missed the bat but grazed his pad.
A 35 run partnership between Jacob Oram and Neil Broom took the score past triple figures but just at they started to look comfortable Oram spooned one back to Ishant Sharma after reaching 24, reducing the BLACKCAPS to 101 for six.
The pattern continued with one wicket bringing another as Broom went shortly after for 21 to become Yuvraj’s third victim. Worse followed when Kyle Mills chopped on for six leaving New Zealanders eight down with over 12 overs remaining.
A lot rested on the shoulders of captain Daniel Vettori who chipped away but the lack of support took its toll and he was bowled by Sharma for the teams top score of 25 – the fifth batsman to be dismissed in the twenties.
Ian Butler was the last man out, caught at cover for six in the 47th over, handing Nehra his third wicket and leaving India the target of 156 to win.
The BLACKCAPS had early success when Indian came out to bat with Mills removing Dinesh Karthik in the third over – his 150th One-Day International wicket.
Shane Bond gave it everything; with his first five overs going for 11 runs but the Indian’s patiently saw him off then steadily accelerated the scoring.
The experienced Sachin Tendulkar and Dravid combined to put on 60 runs for the second wicket before Oram got the breakthrough, trapping Dravid LBW for 14.
Vettori struck in the next over to have Tendulkar caught at short cover for 46 and then four overs later had Yuvraj Singh caught at mid-wicket for eight giving the BLACKCAPS a glimmer of hope.
It was short lived as MS Dhoni (35*) and Suresh Raina (45*) set about steadying the innings and managed to knock off the remaining 72 runs with more than nine overs to spare, handing them a comfortable victory.
India take on Sri Lanka tomorrow night in a dead rubber before contesting the final on Monday 14th September.