Virat Kohli rued a top-order collapse that eventually cause his team's loss in a thrilling semifinal against New Zealand AFP

The first semifinal of the 2019 World Cup turned out to be a tale of two days, and the Indian team learnt it the hard way. On Tuesday, Virat Kohli's bowlers were on the mark from the get-go, strangling New Zealand through the middle-phase to lay the platform for a modest chase for themselves.

Rain came as a frustrating distraction and kept the two sides out of the field for a long while before the game spilt over to the reserve day, but with New Zealand on 211 for 5 in 46.1 overs, India went to bed as the happier bunch.

But when play began on Wednesday, dark clouds hovered with the threat of rain and at the very least favourable conditions for the New Zealand bowlers to take a stab at defending their 240, which came thanks to laborious efforts of Kane Williamson (67 off 95) and Ross Taylor (74 off 90).

Matt Henry proved the signs were ominous when he removed the form-batsman Rohit Sharma in just the second over for a four-ball one. Trent Boult complemented him in the following over, when the left-armer sent Virat Kohli packing for the same score. The early burst of pace and swing had India on the mat at 5 for 3.

"The first half, we were very, very good. We got what we needed at that point. We thought we had restricted New Zealand to a chaseable score but the way they came out with the ball was what made the difference. The game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes when we were batting," Virat Kohli conceded at the post-match presentation ceremony in Manchester.

"They really put up a great display on how to bowl with the new ball. They forced us to make errors. Pressure created was immense. I think for the first 7 or 8 overs we didn't get a ball to drive. That shows the kind of control they had.

"We knew we had a good day yesterday, we felt like we had the moment, but the credit has to go to New Zealand bowlers. The swing and help they got from the surface - the skill from them was on display," Kohli said.

Once the New Zealand pacers made the early dent, India were always behind the eight ball and struggled to break the shackles. Curiously, each of Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik walked out to bat before the experienced MS Dhoni. Pant and Pandya put a lid on the quick fall of wickets, but still found it tough to up the scoring rate.

As they too fell - in the 23rd and 31st over - New Zealand had the game by the scruff of its neck. In stepped Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja to take the fight to the Blackcaps with an exceptional partnership. Jadeja, particularly, grew in stature as the partnership progressed, even giving the Indian dressing room the confidence that India might just pull off the chase. Kohli felt Jadeja's 59-ball 77 - laced with four fours and four sixes - was probably his best ODI knock considering the situation that it came in, and rued the game of margins in which New Zealand came up trumps towards the end.

"Jadeja had a really good couple of games and it's his performances that are a huge positive. He went with so much clarity, MS had a good partnership with him. It was a game of margins and MS was run-out. 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out of the tournament.

"Difficult to take it - but New Zealand deserve it. Our shot selection could have been better, but we played a good standard of cricket throughout. New Zealand were braver in crunch situations and they deserve it," Kohli said.