Kohli, Iyer Set The Stage, Shami Finishes With Flair

Two-time winner India will next meet the winner of the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa, to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. The final will be played in Ahmedabad on Sunday (Nov 19) …reports Asian Lite News

Mohammed Shami claimed his third five-wicket haul of the tournament in a brilliant 7-57 after Virat Kohli struck a record-breaking 50th century in ODIs and Shreyas Iyer blasted a second successive century to help India defeat New Zealand by 70 runs and storm into the final of the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 on Wednesday.

In a semifinal clash replete with many twists and turns, Shami struck vital blows and claimed the first four wickets to fall as India overcame a valiant century by Daryl Mitchell (134), who added 181 runs for the third wicket with skipper Kane Williamson (69), to avenge their defeat at the same stage New Zealand four years back in 2019.

Shami, who came into the team after Hardik Pandya was injured and claimed 5-54 against New Zealand at Dharamsala and then picked 5-18 against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium here, struck when India needed the most, finishing with 7-57 in 9.5 overs.

After Kohli (117) broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most centuries in One-day cricket by scoring his 50th century and Shreyas Iyer (105) helped India post a massive 397/4 in 40 overs, Shami came to India’s rescue and inspired the team to bundle out New Zealand for 327 in 48.5 overs to script a memorable triumph.

Two-time winner India will next meet the winner of the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa, to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. The final will be played in Ahmedabad on Sunday (Nov 19).

Providing vital breakthroughs when India needed the most, Shami prised out openers Devon Conway (13) and Rachin Ravindra (13) to give India a good start. He returned to action to dismiss Kane Williamson (69) and Tom Latham (0) in one brilliant over to pull India back into the game after the New Zealand skipper and Daryl Mitchell had raised 183 runs for the third-wicket partnership.

Shami, who bowled in five spells, sent back Mitchell, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson in the final few overs to complete his best haul in ODIs.

After Shami had accounted for both the openers, Williamson and Mitchell rebuilt New Zealand.

Both completed their half-centuries in quick succession — Mitchell reaching his fifty off 49 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes while Williamson reached the milestone off 58 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and one maximum.

Williamson and Mitchell reached 150 runs in their partnership and soon propelled New Zealand past the 200-run mark, off 182 balls. New Zealand scored 75 runs from 21 to 30 overs.

Shami again provided India the much-needed breakthrough when he claimed two wickets in three deliveries in the 33rd over (his fifth over of the day), giving away only 1 run.

He got Williamson holing out to Suryaklumar Yadav at deep square, just short of the boundary ropes. A ball later, Shami trapped Tom Latham (0) with one skid back to hit the front foot, New Zealand were down to 220/4 and the Indians had their tails up in the air.

With the packed Wankhede Stadium singing ‘Vande Mataram’ in one voice, the Indian bowlers went in search of more wickets, bowling some incisive overs. At the end of 35 overs, the Black Caps were 224/4 while at the same stage, India were 248/1.

Mitchell continued to hold the fort and got a willing partner in Glenn Phillips as they tried to repair the innings again. However, the going was slow and the run rate kept mounting.

In the 41st over, Siraj conceded 20 runs with Glenn Phillips carting him for two big sixes off successive deliveries. A wide ball later, Phillips struck him for a boundary at deep third and could have got another four if Shubman Gill had not pulled off a fine save in the deep.

With New Zealand needing 103 runs off 44 balls, Bumrah struck a vital blow when he sent back Phillips, who holed out to Ravindra Jadeja left off wide long-on. Mark Chapman (2 off 5) tried to look for a boundary and was caught by Jadeja off Kuldeep Yadav as New Zealand slumped to 298/5, needing 100 runs in 37 deliveries.

Mitchell’s vigil came to an end in the 46th over for 134 runs, caught by Jadeja off Mohd Shami, giving him his third five-wicket haul in this World Cup and the writing was clear on the wall.

Earlier, Kohli set the record for the most centuries in One-Day cricket and Shreyas Iyer hammered his second successive hundred as India put up a batting masterclass to reach 397/4 in 50 overs.

Kohli, who had joined Sachin Tendulkar on 49 centuries in the match against South Africa around 10 days back, scored his 50th hundred with the Little Maestro watching and applauding from the stands. Kohli thus took his total for this World Cup to 711 runs in 10 innings at an average of 101.57.

With the slow and dry pitch looking conducive to batting, the Indian batters made most of their chances after Rohit Sharma had elected to bat first.

Iyer, who scored 128 not out against the Netherlands in India’s last league match in Bengaluru, took the cake by scoring a second century in a row, blasting eight sixes in his 70-ball 105 and helping India put up a massive score.

Skipper Rohit Sharma gave India a good opening, starting in whirlwind fashion as he has done so far in this World Cup. He took the attack to the New Zealand pacers — Trent Boult and Tim Southee, as he hammered four boundaries and four maximums in his 29-ball 47.

Gill took up the mantle of scoring, hitting seven superb boundaries — a couple of pulls off Lockie Ferguson catching attention as the young opener raced to his third half-century in four innings.

Gill and Kohli raised 93 runs for the second wicket before the opener walked off to the pavilion with 79 off 65 balls, and retired hurt because of severe cramps.

Shreyas Iyer joined Kohli in the middle but the rate of scoring did not slag.

Kohli, who survived a close DRS review for lbw off Southee in the 9th over as Snicko showed a small spike as the ball went past the bat, played as he has done throughout this World Cup, starting cautiously and punishing the bad balls. He completed his fifty off 59 balls, hitting four boundaries.

He continued in the same vein as he marched to his 50th century off 106 balls, hitting eight boundaries and one six to edge past Sachin Tendulkar to become the batter to score most centuries in One-Day Internationals. He reached the landmark with a double off Ferguson in the 42nd over.

With Tendulkar applauding from the stands, Kohli ran halfway to the boundary, leapt into the air and then sunk onto his knees, acknowledging the wild cheers and clapping from the dressing room.

Kohli, who struck a boundary off Ferguson soon after reaching the hundred, got a life when Phillips dropped a catch at deep midwicket off Southee when on 107. He rubbed salt into the wound by hoicking it over Phillips for a six. However, the former India captain did not last long as he got out two balls later, stepping out to attempt another big one but managing to shovel the slower ball to Devon Conway at deep square leg.

Kohli and Iyer added 163 runs for the second wicket as India went past the 300 runs mark.

Iyer, who blazed to his fifty off 35 deliveries, hitting two fours and four sixes, hammered Rachin Ravindra for a six and a four off successive balls in the 27th over and heaved Southee over wide long-on for another six. He took quite a liking to Ravindra’s gentle spinners as he smacked him for three more sixes. He completed his century off 67 balls, hitting three fours and eight sixes.

Iyer and KL Rahul raised 50 runs for the third wicket partnership as India went past the 350 runs mark. Iyer was out, caught by Daryl Mitchell off Boult, his 105 coming off just 70 deliveries. KL Rahul remained unbeaten on 39 as India posted a massive total.

Brief scores:

India 397/4 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 117, Shreyas Iyer 105, Shubman Gill 80 not out; Rohit Sharma 47; KL Rahul 39 not out; Tim Southee 3-100) beat New Zealand 327 all out in 48.5 overs (Kane Williamson 69, Daryl Mitchell 134, Glenn Phillips 41; Mohammed Shami 7-57) by 70 runs.

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