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Three times, New Zealand devastated Indian cricket fans.

Team India’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign came to a screeching halt in the semi-finals. But they are ready for their next challenge against New Zealand. The Men in Blue will play three T20Is versus the Black Caps from November 18 to November 22. These will be followed by a three-match ODI series from November 25 to November 30.

In the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who was rested along with a few senior players for the New Zealand tour, all-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead the team in the T20I matches, while veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will take charge of the one-day squad. The tour marks another opportunity for the likes of young guns Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson to push for a permanent spot in Team India’s white-ball squads.

The India-New Zealand rivalry may seem placid on the surface compared to India-Pakistan or India-Australia clashes over the years. However, the Black Caps have proved to be the bogey team for the Men in Blue on the biggest of the stages on a few occasions. In this feature, we recall three instances when New Zealand caused heartbreak among Indian cricket fans.

1 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy final

Team India had a terrific run in the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy that was played in Nairobi. They were unbeaten on their path to the final. Beginning with an eight-wicket hammering of Kenya, they stunned Australia by 20 runs before thumping South Africa by 95 runs in the semi-final. Sourav Ganguly-led Team India were favorites heading into the final against New Zealand.

India batted first in the summit clash, with Ganguly (117 off 130) and Sachin Tendulkar (69 off 83) adding 141 runs for the opening wicket. The Men in Blue should have put up a 300-plus score on the board from that position. However, Rahul Dravid (22), Yuvraj Singh (18), Vinod Kambli (1) and Robin Singh (13) could not consolidate the innings. As a result, the batting side were held to 264/6 in their 50 overs.

In the chase, India reduced New Zealand to 132/5 as Venkatesh Prasad (3/27) and Anil Kumble (2/55) claimed key wickets. However, Chris Cairns (102* off 113) played a stupendous knock to dash India’s hopes of victory. Cairns, who hit eight fours and two sixes, added 122 for the sixth with Chris Harris (46). New Zealand got over the line in 49.4 overs to register a famous win.

2 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final

MS Dhoni got run-out for 50 as India fell 18 runs short
Like the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy final, the Men in Blue went into the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester as favorites. They topped the points table after the league stage, winning seven of their nine matches. Their only loss came against hosts England, while their match against the Black Caps was abandoned due to rain.

India and New Zealand eventually met in the knockout encounter at Old Trafford. In a semi-final that was played over two days due to rain, New Zealand batted first after winning the toss and were held to 239/8. The Black Caps lost openers Martin Guptill for 1 off 14 and Henry Nicholls for 28 off 51.

Skipper Kane Williamson (67 off 95) and Ross Taylor (74 off 90) lifted the batting side with a third-wicket stand of 65. Following Williamson’s exit, Taylor anchored the innings and ensured they put up a competitive total.

Given the form they were in, the Men in Blue were expected to overhaul the score. However, disaster struck as they were reduced to 24/4 in 10 overs. Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul fell to Matt Henry, while Virat Kohli was trapped lbw by Trent Boult for the same score. Dinesh Karthik made a painstaking 6 off 25 and became Henry’s third victim.

Ravindra Jadeja gave India hope with terrific counter-attacking innings. He slammed 77 in 59 balls with the aid of four fours and as many sixes. Jadeja and Dhoni (50 off 72) added 116 for the seventh wicket to bring India right back into the game. However, Jadeja perished in the 48th over, looking to go after Boult. Dhoni was then run out by a brilliant direct hit from Guptill. The tail could not contribute, and India suffered a heartbreak, going down by 18 runs.

3 2021 ICC World Test Championship Final

India lost the World Test Championship final by 8 wickets
India lost the World Test Championship final by 8 wickets
Team India had a great chance to clinch the maiden ICC World Test Championship title. They topped the league table, winning six series, including the famous triumph Down Under, and losing only one. There was plenty of hype around the game ahead of the final in Southampton. However, Team India again finished second best.

New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first in the final. Kyle Jamieson utilized the conditions and his height to his advantage. He claimed 5/31 as Team India were bundled out for a disappointing 217 in their first innings. Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 49, while Kohli contributed 44. However, their inability to convert their starts into big scores hurt the team as the rest of the batters also failed.

India’s bowlers fought back brilliantly to hold New Zealand to 249 in their first innings. Mohammed Shami claimed four wickets and Ishant Sharma three. However, Team India’s batters faltered for the second time to concede the advantage back to New Zealand. 171 was all India managed in their second essay as Tim Southee claimed four scalps and Boult three.

Needing 139 for victory, the Black Caps were lifted to a historic win by skipper Williamson (52) and veteran batter Taylor (47). As for India, it was yet another case of so near yet so far as New Zealand again stood between them and glory.