NZ vs India cricket: Inside a reporter’s notebook

RNZ award-winning reporter Ravinder Hunia was at Old Trafford for the rain-interrupted semi-final against India. She settled in to watch the cricket – and the Indian crowd. These are the notes she took.

Indian wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson bats during the Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester on 9 July 2019.

Indian wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Photo: Photosport

Location: Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester

Weather conditions: Temperature 16C, estimated to hit 19C, heavy cloud about with a real threat of rain.

Absolute scenes waking into the stadium, as predicted a heavily-dominated Indian crowd.

The press box is overcrowded, I have been diverted outside to set up on the sideline – praying there is no rain now! The overflow of media outside is also full.

I’m sitting behind Indian fielder #15 Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and Indian counterpart Virat Kohli.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and Indian counterpart Virat Kohli.
Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Black Caps win the toss and choose to bat. Virat Kohli will be disappointed and will be looking to restrict the Kiwis from the outset.

The capacity for this stadium is 26,000 and it’s a sell-out … I am struggling to find black jerseys – an absolute sea of blue and orange.

Black Caps off to the worse possible start, two maiden overs to start.

There is a lady behind me shrieking at Bumrah to find an early wicket.

Every single ball being delivered feels as though it is being delivered by the entire crowd in the stadium, I have never seen anything like it.

4th over: Martin Guptill out for 1 run, a repeat performance from against England at Durham. If this were a game of gutterboard we’d be cheering. Ominous signs.

Indian crowd absolutely electric and on their feet. The drums are playing, the flags are flying – if I am feeling this sense of being overwhelmed, I can only imagine what Kane Williamson, Guptill and Black Caps batsmen are feeling.

Henry Nicholls runs past Kane Williamson during the Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford, 2019

Henry Nicholls runs past Kane Williamson
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Henry Nicholls steps into the lion’s den.

After 6 overs still no boundary but runs coming on the board none the less!

I wonder how Williamson is finding that batting surface.

7th over: NZ are 7/1.

Just stepped out to have a quick live chat with RNZ’s Karyn Hay and the RNZ's Clay Wilson (L), Ravinder Hunia (ML), Joe Porter (MR) and Zoe George (R) at the 2018 T P McLean awards.

Ravinder Hunia
Photo: Supplied

I have returned to a score of 38/1. Williamson and Nicholls getting a partnership on the boil.

Nice to see both batsmen have picked up two boundaries each.

The drums are going again, they get more aggressive once the stadium music starts. I much prefer the drumming.

11.30am and there is an Indian man a little tipsy behind me. Another person in the crowd asks (yells) “paani pena?” which means “do you want a water?” Crowd is laughing, and so am I. British reporter next to me looking at me strangely.

14th over: Quick drinks break.

This cloud is still hovering over the ground, no sign of rain yet though.

A man over the speakers asks “who is supporting India?” yup, they are all still here with that roaring reply.

The worm graph on the Cricket World Cup website is climbing steadily and then … Nicholls is cleaned bowled for 28 by Jadeja.

Indian fans are losing their minds!

Fans and supporters.
New Zealand Black Caps v India. ICC Cricket World Cup semi final match. Old Trafford Cricket ground, Manchester UK.

Indian fans at Old Trafford Cricket Ground
Photo: Photosport

Let’s see what Ross Taylor can do paired with Williamson, India will want to break the partnership quickly.

18th over: 69/2

Upon reflection, Williamson doing the bulk of the work; a half-century is surely on the cards for the captain, he’s currently on 31.

A few spits of rain being felt now in the 19th over.

I saw a photo of NZ supporters on the big screen – where are you? Reveal yourselves!

Fans and supporters. New Zealand Black Caps v India. ICC Cricket World Cup semi final match. Old Trafford Cricket ground, Manchester UK.

Photo: Photosport

Taylor looking to find his momentum with the skipper. Has scored 2 from 5 balls so far.

Indian captain Virat Kohli last bowled a ball in one-day cricket in August 2017, will his services be required today? #CommentatorsPonder

If there was one song to sum up this crowd it would be Blue and Orange to the tune of Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow.

27th over: NZ are 90/2 with a run rate of NEGATIVE 1. A safe game is not going to win this match. Kohli said it best yesterday: “Whoever is brave will find success in this match.”

Ok a Kiwi century, they desperately need this boost!

And the crowd goes bonkers when Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar hits the big screen! The crowd response is God status, the media around here are blown away.

29th over: Williamson hits 50 – PHEW!

30th over: Williamson and Taylor make a 50 run partnership, steady she goes.

Kane Williamson playing against India World Cup 2019.

Kane Williamson
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

I’ve just noticed there is next to no music played here, much like Lord’s here at Old Trafford, unlike at Durham where NZ played England to a soundtrack.

A few journos yawning.

35th over: Williamson is b. Chahal and c. Jadeja for 67 runs. Mighty effort by the captain.

Jimmy Neesham steps in, he’s moved up a place in the order this game. It was Tom Latham at this point in Durham.

Hardik Pandya bowling.
New Zealand Black Caps v India. ICC Cricket World Cup semi final match. Old Trafford Cricket ground, Manchester UK.

Hardik Pandya bowling.
Photo: Photosport

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya being harassed by Indian fans on the sideline, he gives a little wave to calm them down. These players are treated like superstars.

The music is playing and what do you know? It’s INDIAN music! Well played Old Trafford.

Just noticed Pandya eating a banana while in the outfield? Quiet day mate? Oh he needs fuel to bowl … (Wondering if the media lunch is ready yet? The Cricket World Cup is very hospitable.)

40th over: Neesham out. B. Pandya c. Karthik

Tom Latham steps in, he had a good outing last game with 57 against England.

WIN predictor has New Zealand at 9 percent chance of winning.

And rain has settled in at Old Trafford, play cut short at 46.1 overs. 211/5.

Rain covers heading out to cover the pitch.
New Zealand Black Caps v India. ICC Cricket World Cup semi final match. Old Trafford Cricket ground, Manchester UK. T

Photo: Photosport

A good time for lunch in the press box only to find NZ are not only outnumbered in the stands, but in the catering too. One piece of salmon on the menu vs every curry dish you can think of. Works for me!

Cauliflower subji (vegetarian curry), my absolute favourite.

A South African reporter tells me he would’ve preferred an Australia-NZ semi to ensure a seat inside.

A Pakistani reporter tells me “considering his country missed out on a semifinal spot, NZ’s performance is disappointing.”

An Indian reporter says: “Black Caps should have bowled first to try to restrict the Indians, and to also give Martin Guptill a goal to work towards. What was up with Tom Latham coming out after Neesham, Latham is the proven run scorer.” …Ouch.

The rain continues to fall. And fall. And fall.

No play is possible. Back Wednesday.

Published at Wed, 10 Jul 2019 02:30:45 +0000
Source: NZ vs India cricket: Inside a reporter’s notebook