India's top order was blown away by New Zealand seamers Matt Henry and Trent Boult at Old Trafford to leave Virat Kohli's side reeling at 24-4 in pursuit of a victory target of 240 in the first Cricket World Cup semi-final.

The Black Caps resumed their innings on Wednesday, with rain having halted their progress after 46.1 overs on Tuesday, and they reached 239-8, a total that looked below par against an India side with such an explosive batting line-up.

However, the momentum had shifted firmly in New Zealand's favour after the opening 19 deliveries of the reply. Rohit Sharma, Kohli and KL Rahul were all sent back having scored just a single run each, before Dinesh Karthik (6) fell from the final ball of the powerplay.

Rohit, the competition's leading run scorer who had amassed three straight centuries and five in total heading into this contest, feathered an edge through to wicketkeeper Tom Latham off Henry.

Kohli was the next to depart, unsuccessfully reviewing Boult's lbw shout as replays showed the ball would have gone on to clip the top of the bails, with Rahul also nicking behind to complete a remarkable early passage.

Rishabh Pant and Karthik were given the task of rebuilding the innings, but the latter was removed by a superb one-handed take from Jimmy Neesham at backward point to give Henry a third wicket of a remarkable start.

India have been set a target of 240 to reach the Cricket World Cup final after New Zealand added a further 28 while losing three wickets having resumed their innings on Wednesday's reserve day.

The Black Caps had laboured to 211-5 in 46.1 overs before rain at Old Trafford prevented any further play on Tuesday, meaning they completed the final 3.5 overs on Wednesday and reached an eventual total of 239-8.

Ross Taylor moved from 67 not out overnight to 74 before being run out, with Kane Williamson (67) having been the only other New Zealand batsman to have found any sort of rhythm on a surface that many struggled to read on Tuesday.

Ravindra Jadeja, who had figures of 1-34 from his 10 overs, ran out Taylor with a brilliant direct hit from midwicket then took his second catch of the innings from the very next ball to send back Tom Latham (10).

Matt Henry also holed out to give Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-43) his second dismissal of the morning as New Zealand missed the chance to make the most of the final 23 balls they had to face.

Play began in brighter conditions on Wednesday and showers were not expected in the area during the day.

India need to bat at least 20 overs for a result to be possible, otherwise Virat Kohli's side would progress to the final as they finished top of the group phase.

Peter Handscomb is a certainty to be in Australia's XI for their Cricket World Cup semi-final showdown against England, according to head coach Justin Langer.

Handscomb was called up to Australia's squad as a replacement for Shaun Marsh after the left-handed batsman broke his arm in a training session, though is likely to have to step in for Usman Khawaja – who has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a hamstring strain.

And Langer has full faith in Handscomb to deliver at Edgbaston on Thursday, despite having missed out on the initial squad.

"I'll tell you the truth. Peter Handscomb will definitely play, 100 per cent" said Langer. "He deserves it.

"He was unlucky not to be on this tour, he was so unlucky not to be in the initial squad after what he'd done to get us to that point.

"He's in good form, he played well for Australia A, gives us that nice balance in the middle order. He's got good temperament, he plays spin well, he's on top of his game, so Pete will definitely play."

Handscomb praised his coach's alternative methods on Monday, after Langer instructed Australia's players to walk around the outfield barefoot to 'earth' themselves ahead of the game, and Langer revealed it was a habit he and former opening partner Mathew Hayden used to practice.

"What was it called?" asked Langer. "I don't know what you call it, we just took our shoes and socks off and walked a lap of the oval.

"It's a nice thing to do, it's a nice place to be. Haydos and I used to do it, just as a bit of a ritual before every Test match."

While Handscomb will definitely feature, Marcus Stoinis will also be fit to play after recovering from a side strain sustained against South Africa.

"He looks good," Langer said of Stoinis following Wednesday's net session in Birmingham.

"It was a very good nets actually, there was a bit of heat in there again and it was very competitive and that always brings the best out in Stoinis, so he did a good job and he's fit to go."

Windies top order batsman Shai Hope has rejected claims a coaching change just ahead of the start of the ICC World Cup was a major contributing factor to the team’s dismal display.

Despite being considered as one of the teams capable of causing problems at the tournament, the Windies went on to register just two wins, which left them second to last in the overall standings. 

A part of the optimism heading into the tournament was fueled by the team’s performance against England during its tour of the Caribbean.  Richard Pybus was the interim coach in charge of the team’s exceptional performance for the series of matches against the English but was replaced with Floyd Reifer only weeks ahead of the World Cup by a newly appointed Cricket West Indies (CWI) administration.

The move has led to criticism in some quarters, with many accusing the administration of unsettling the team.  Hope was, however, quick to insist that the players take full responsibility for the poor results.

“Regardless of what happened behind the scenes, we have to go out there and play cricket,” Hope said.

“It doesn’t matter what happened the week before, the day before, two years before. It’s about crossing that line and playing the hardest you can for the region.”

The Windies started brightly with a big win over Pakistan but slumped to defeats at the hands of Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka before winning a game against Afghanistan.  Hope admitted it was difficult to pinpoint what went wrong.

“If I knew the answer to that, I reckon we’d be in the semis. It’s just one of those things. As I said, we didn’t play the better cricket on the day, and in a tournament like this, you have to basically play your best game each game.”

 

The Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand will resume on Wednesday's reserve day following heavy rain at Old Trafford.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, reaching 211-5 after 46.1 overs when the players were forced off the field at around 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT).

Light but persistent showers continued throughout the afternoon and though the umpires inspected the pitch at 18:10, heavier rain arrived at that point and the covers were summoned back on.

Play had to resume by 18:36 for a conclusion to be reached on Tuesday, with India needing to bat at least 20 overs for a result.

However, as the bad weather refused to relent, the umpires made the decision to call off play for the day, meaning the teams will be back at the venue on Wednesday to reach a conclusion.

New Zealand will face the final 3.5 overs of their innings, with Ross Taylor (67 not out) and Tom Latham (3 not out) to return to the crease.

Further showers are forecast in Manchester, though, and should the game not be completed, India will qualify for Sunday's final at Lord's because they finished above New Zealand in the group stage.

Steve Rhodes' tenure as Bangladesh coach has come to an end just a year into his contract following a disappointing Cricket World Cup campaign.

Bangladesh lost five of their fixtures at the tournament in England and Wales, finishing the group stage in eighth with only West Indies and Afghanistan below them in the table.

Rhodes only took over in June 2018 and was set to carry on as coach until the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020.

However, the Bangladesh Cricket Board have confirmed they have agreed to part ways with Rhodes by mutual consent.

"The board had a review following the Pakistan match [Bangladesh's last at the World Cup] in a meeting in London," Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB CEO, told ESPNcricinfo.

"There it was decided that the BCB and Steve Rhodes will not continue on their agreement. The separation was by mutual consent.

"The BCB has not yet decided on a new coach for the Sri Lanka series, which is their next assignment."

Bangladesh will tour Sri Lanka in July for a three-match ODI series.

India took control of their Cricket World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, who were 211-5 when rain brought a halt to proceedings in the 47th over.

The Black Caps won the toss and elected to bat first, but they toiled to 27-1 in the powerplay before Kane Williamson (67) at least attempted to push their innings on.

Like openers Martin Guptill (1) and Henry Nicholls (28), Ross Taylor (67 not out) had struggled to score initially but had finally found some sort of rhythm when the inclement weather arrived.

The steady rain became heavier and the covers came on with just 23 balls remaining.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first in their Cricket World Cup semi-final against an India side that included Yuzvendra Chahal.

With 16 of the last 20 World Cup matches having been won by the team batting first, Black Caps skipper Williamson decided to put India into field at Old Trafford.

India, who finished top of the group stage, made just one change to their team as spinner Chahal replaced Kuldeep Yadav, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar keeping his place at the expense of fellow seamer Mohammed Shami.

New Zealand also bought in just one new face as Lockie Ferguson, who came into the game as the Black Caps' leading wicket-taker with 17 dismissals, replaced Tim Southee.

Despite the promise he has shown, Windies batsman Sunil Ambris has not been given a new central contract even as Cricket West Indies (CWI) have increased the number offered in the new contract period. 

Fabian Allen, Nicholas Pooran and Oshane Thomas have been awarded central contracts by Cricket West Indies who have increased the number of all-format contracts awarded to West Indies men and also expanded the list of centrally-contracted West Indies women’s players for the 2019-20 season.

However, no new contracts were offered to Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, and Raymon Reifer.

The number of all-format contracts on the men’s side has now increased from four to seven with Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul joining Test and One-Day International captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach on the list.

Nineteen men have been retained for the upcoming contract year which runs from July 1 this year to June 30 next year, including first-timers Allen, Pooran and Thomas, all members of the West Indies squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales, along with left-handed opener John Campbell.

Fifteen women – an increase of three – have also earned central contracts to run for the same period, including veteran all-rounder Stacy-Ann King, fellow left-hander Kycia Knight and newcomers Shabika Gajnabi, Shawnisha Hector, Chinelle Henry, Natasha McLean and Karishma Ramharack.

“We believe the 2019-20 contract list provides us with a multi-talented group of players who can represent West Indies men and women across all formats over the contract period,” said interim Chairman of the CWI Selection Panel, Robert Haynes.

“We believe the mix of players selected are important for the development of our teams going forward and we have looked to award contracts to players who have shown commitment and performance during the past year.”

Contracts were offered to players who have achieved consistent performances for the West Indies throughout the evaluation period of April 1 last year to March 31 this year, and players who the Selection Panel believes will feature in the squads for all matches in the respective formats over the next contract year.

CWI Board policy allows up to 22 contracts to be offered each contract year to West Indies men’s players, so the Selection Panel may decide to offer additional central contracts throughout the year.

CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams said verbal offers had been made to all players, and contracts will be issued in the next few weeks, as soon as CWI has concluded a new four-year Memorandum of Understanding with the West Indies Players Association.

“To assist in our drive of towards a new fitness and conditioning culture, the CWI board of directors has approved our recommendation that the award of all new West Indies men’s contracts this year will be conditional on each player achieving a minimum standard of fitness,” he said.

“This new policy will also be introduced to all men’s regional franchise contracts and West Indies Women’s contracts next year for the 2020-21 season.”

This is the third year that CWI will award central contracts to West Indies men under three different categories.

All-format contracts are awarded to players expected to feature in Tests, ODIs and T20Is during the coming year. Red-ball contracts are given to players who predominantly play Test cricket and white-ball contracts are awarded to players who predominantly play ODIs and T20Is.

 The full list of contracted players are:

All-Format Contracts: Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach.

Red-Ball Contracts: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jomel Warrican.

White-Ball Contracts: Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Oshane Thomas.

New players offered contracts for 2019-20

Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.

Players no longer on contracts

Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer

WEST INDIES WOMEN CENTRALLY-CONTRACTED PLAYERS 2019-20

Players who retained contracts: Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman, Stafanie Taylor.

New players offered contracts for 2019-20: Shabika Gajnabi, Shawnisha Hector, Chinelle Henry, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Natasha McLean, Karishma Ramharack.

Players no longer on contracts:

Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Anisa Mohammed, Akeira Peters.

 

 

Peter Handscomb believes Justin Langer's decision to have Australia's players walk around the Edgbaston outfield barefoot has helped bond the squad.

Langer labelled himself as "a bit of a hippy" when he took over as Australia coach and he provided an example of his alternative methods when he directed his team to walk on the ground where they will face England in Thursday's Cricket World Cup semi-final without shoes and socks.

The technique has been dubbed "barefoot healing" and "earthing", and its practitioners include State of Origin side New South Wales Blues.

Handscomb, who was called up to Australia's squad as a replacement for Shaun Marsh after the left-handed batsman broke his arm in a nets session, is fully behind Langer's approach.

"It was nice. You get a feel of the grass on your feet, a bit of grounding, the positive and negative energy flowing through and coming out of the earth," Handscomb told reporters.

"It is a nice feeling and you walk round with the group, have a bit of a laugh while you're going and talking.

"It is just a nice moment. It was just a moment to get a feel for the ground, literally.

"It's something the coach has done before at other venues for a bit of grounding.

"You do that lap and you can see all the different views from the ground and where you might be fielding and it gives you an opportunity to take it all in before it all starts on Thursday."

Australia have already beaten World Cup hosts England in the group stage, though they head into the semi-finals having lost their final round-robin match against South Africa.

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will reignite an old rivalry when India and New Zealand face off in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

The duo first played against each in 2007, before captaining their respective countries in an Under-19 World Cup semi-final in Malaysia a year later.

Kohli came out on top in that encounter, dismissing Williamson in a three-wicket victory for India.

Kohli and Williamson have since scored 33,840 international runs and 99 centuries between them, and now they go head to head for a place in Sunday's final against Australia or hosts England.

While India have relied mainly on Rohit Sharma - the leading scorer at the World Cup with 647, including five centuries - for their runs, Williamson was in fine form for New Zealand earlier in the tournament and has the best batting average at 96.20.

However, the Black Caps lost their last three group-stage games against Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the final four on net run rate.

With the sides yet to play each other in this tournament due to their June 13 fixture being rained off, New Zealand - beaten finalists in 2015 - may have their work cut out to progress against 2011 champions India, who have won seven matches in the competition and are hot favourites to triumph at Old Trafford.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

A 31-run defeat to England is all that mars a perfect record for India, and with Rohit in devastating form with the bat they would certainly be worthy finalists.

New Zealand looked on course to cruise into the last four after winning five straight games, but they lost their way towards the end of the group stage and were fortunate Pakistan did not click into gear until late on.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

India captain Kohli on his reunion with Williamson: "I'll remind Kane [about 2008], I'm sure he remembers. It is quite a nice thing to realise that 11 years later we are captaining our respective nations again in a senior World Cup from Under-19s."

Black Caps skipper Williamson: "I think for everybody it sort of starts fresh tomorrow after what was a very tough round-robin stage, and we were certainly expecting that it would be tough. It's just a great occasion to be a part of. I know the guys are really excited by the opportunity to go out and try to play with that freedom that when we do gives us the best chance."

 

OPTA FACTS

- There have been seven completed matches between India and New Zealand in World Cup history - the Black Caps have edged it so far with four wins.
- India have recorded six victories in their last seven ODIs against New Zealand.
- New Zealand have reached the semi-final stage of the World Cup for the fourth time in succession, though they are yet to win the competition.

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