Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor registered attritional half-centuries as New Zealand laboured with the bat on a challenging surface in their World Cup semi-final against India.
Williamson had little hesitation in asking India to field first under heavy cloud cover at Old Trafford but early seam movement and then turn for the spinners on a slow pitch made life difficult for the Kiwis.
The New Zealand captain and Ross Taylor struggled for fluency but their contributions formed the backbone of a score of 211 for five after 46.1 overs before rain stopped play.
Williamson went past 500 runs for the tournament but his 67 took up 95 balls before he was dismissed looking to force the issue, while Taylor was unbeaten on 67 when the action was halted.
Otherwise there was little reason for cheer among the Black Caps, who scraped into this stage by virtue of a superior net run-rate to Pakistan after finishing level on 11 points with Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side.
India, who topped the group table, seemed to be in the ascendancy just before the halfway stage, with all five of their frontline bowlers in the wickets.
In all five matches at this ground in this tournament, the side that has batted first has gone on to win but the overcast conditions saw India seamers and Jasprit Bumrah prosper.
India burned their review from the first ball of the match, Bhuvneshwar rapping Martin Guptill on the pad but the New Zealand opener was spared a third golden duck of the tournament when technology showed the ball was sliding past leg-stump.
However, it took 17 balls for New Zealand to score their first run, a single into the leg-side, Guptill’s only contribution before prodding Bumrah to Virat Kohli moving to his left at second slip.
It was Guptill’s fifth single figure score in his last seven innings and led to the introduction of Williamson, who showed a little more purpose but a score of 27 for one was the lowest after the first powerplay in the tournament.
Henry Nicholls made it to double figures for the first time in three innings before being bowled through the gate by a delivery that turned back into him off Ravindra Jadeja, who would eventually finish with an economical 10-0-34-1.
Hardik Pandya seemed to injure his groin in his fourth over, leaving the field for treatment, but he was able to complete his allotment as the pressure intensified on Williamson and Taylor.
Taylor, in particular, was struggling to time the ball, and as Williamson attempted to inject some momentum into the innings, he could only slice Yuzvendra Chahal to short third man.
Taylor eventually cast off the shackles with a slog swept six which took him to his half-century, helping New Zealand amass 18 from Chahal’s final over as they finally looked to transfer the pressure on to India’s bowlers.
Fifty-six runs were added in the 6.1 overs before the players were brought off as drizzle turned into a full-blown rain shower in the north-west, heightening fears of a shortened fixture.