The final had the two best teams of the tournament pitted against each other and it showed in the level of cricket that was on display. India were labelled favourites after a clinical victory over South Africa in semi-finals but New Zealand too had shown remarkable resilience throughout the tournament.
India started off well after being sent into bat with Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar adding 141 runs for the opening stand in under 27 overs. Ganguly, in particular, continued off from where he left in the semis as he stroked a classy 130-ball 117 while Tendulkar cracked an 83-ball 69 to pave way for a competitive Indian total of 264 for 6 in 50 overs.
The bowlers did well to pull things back in the end overs after India had threatened to post a score in excess of 300 at one stage.
Venkatesh Prasad had the New Zealand batsmen in trouble early as he removed Craig Spearman and Stephen Fleming in quick succession. Nathan Castle cracked a trademark 37 but timely strikes from India had New Zealand in trouble at 132 for 5 in the 24th over.
Cairns and Chris Harris then got together and crafted a crucial 122-run stand for the sixth wicket to all but take their side to the doorstep of victory. Cairns fittingly then hit the winning runs also completing a century in the process to take New Zealand to a win with two balls to spare.
First Published: October 15, 2018, 5:00 PM IST