What if the One-Day International World Cup semi-final in 2019 was played in... you know, one day.

What if India’s top order did not collapse like a pack of cards in thirty minutes of mayhem against Trent Boult and Matt Henry.

What if Rishabh Pant did not play a slog sweep after steadying the ship.

What if India held back Hardik Pandya for the end overs and not a struggling MS Dhoni.

What if India’s batting line-up had a settled middle order going into the World Cup, instead of depending on the top three to do the job every time.

What if Ravindra Jadeja went on batting for just a couple of more overs.

What if MS Dhoni did not return for a second run.

What if Martin Guptill had missed the direct hit.

What if...

Unfortunately, sport does not care much for what-ifs as Virat Kohli and Co found out on day two of the two-day international against New Zealand in Manchester in 2019.

The men in blue suffered a heartbreaking 18-run defeat against New Zealand on July 10 after the Kiwis’ bowlers ran riot in a rain-affected World Cup semi-final.

Rain forced the game into the reserve day with New Zealand at 211/5 after 46.1 overs. After the restart, the Kiwis added 28 runs to give India a challenging total of 240 on a wicket that was two-paced in nature.

India lost their top three batsmen for five runs and their chase never really recovered until Jadeja and Dhoni launched a remarkable late fightback. However, it wasn’t enough as New Zealand booked their place in their second-successive final by closing out the win in the final over of the game.

There are no guarantees in cricket, or sport for that matter. The uncertainty of it all is what keeps fans on the edge of the seat, keeps players on their toes, keeps the game thrilling.

But for Indian cricket fans, 2019 World Cup will always remain the tournament that got away. Arguably among the two best sides in the world cricket at the time, and as toppers of the league table, India had to do better than a semi-final exit at the very least. It did not happen, and it will rankle the players and fans for a long time to come.

For a neutral though, it might have well been the best match of the tournament had the final not transpired the way it did a few days later. It had everything: weird rain delays, solid batting efforts, great bowling displays, and drama all the way through even if it was not a high-scoring match.

The highlight, from India’s point of view, was Jadeja’s sensational display with the bat not long after his quality as an all-rounder had been questioned.

Watch highlights of Jadeja’s innings here:

But, as the final nail in India’s coffin was landed by Guptill’s cracking direct hit that caught Dhoni short, it dawned on one and all that Kohli’s wait for lifting the ICC trophy as the captain was going to continue. For a man who caught so many batsmen short of the crease by a matter of millimetres, the last act in India’s colours was perhaps to meet that fate himself.

But India did not lose that match because of that Dhoni run out, it just confirmed the result that seemed rather inevitable at 3/5 in the fourth over.

Here are the highlights of the semi-final: