It was the match which really lit up the Cricket World Cup.
And, at the end of a contest which twisted and turned like a Damon Runyon story, New Zealand held their nerve to reach their second successive World Cup final with an 18-run victory over Virat Kohli’s Bollywood brigade.
There was little indication of the drama in store while the Kiwis laboured to 239 in their rain-affected innings, with Ross Taylor criticised for apparently adopting a pedestrian approach on a difficult surface in Manchester.
However, after he had top-scored with 74, Matt Henry and Trent Boult got to work and quickly demolished the much-vaunted Indian top order, with some fiery bowling, as the favourites slipped to 24 for 4, losing both their prime assets, Rohit Sharma and Kohli amid the carnage.
For a while, there was a crescendo of gloom among the Indian fans over the ground and the cause seemed hopeless when they subsided to 92 for 6 as the overs ticked away.
At that stage, their last two recognised batsmen convened at the crease. In one corner, the veteran MS Dhoni. In the other, the mercurial, but erratic Ravindra Jadeja, whose all-round skills have too often flattered to deceive,
However, in this instance, Jadeja produced one of the best innings in recent memory and transformed his side’s fortunes with some spectacular pyrotechnics as New Zealand began to feel the rug being pulled from under their feet.
He reached his half-century in just 39 balls and the pace didn’t let up thereafter. Yet, displaying the tigerish qualities which have brought them so much success in rugby and cricket – despite having a population of under four million people – New Zealand managed to remove Jadeja for 77 and the die was cast.
There was no way back and, in truth, India could have few complaints, given the porous nature of their batting at the outset. Dhoni managed 50 in his last World Cup knock before being run out by Martin Guptill, but it took him 72 balls and the former Finisher is now, well, just finished.
New Zealand, in contrast, have demonstrated they have numerous game-changers in their ranks, including Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Henry and Boult as well as the prolific run gatherers, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, and will be determined to improve on their final showing in 2015.
On that occasion, they were trounced by Australia and the later will take on England in Thursday’s second semi-final. Don’t bet against these two Southern Hemisphere rivals squaring up again at Lord’s on Sunday!