Kohli-Shami’s Dream Run Clips Soaring Kiwis’ Wings

Kohli-Shami's Dream Run Clips Soaring Kiwis' Wings!

The first semi-final was a total bang for the buck as both India and New Zealand gave their all to win the penultimate clash. Yet, it was Virat Kohli’s record ton, Iyers’s fiery hundred and Shami’s seven-wicket haul that propelled India to the finals, on Wednesday, at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai. New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchel tried to pull off a Maxwell but the Indian bowlers are seasoned and skilled, unlike the upcoming Afghans.

The Toss

The Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first. India, although renowned as chase masters, has established their authority over the course of the World Cup as a squad that can post humongous totals and defend them in style. The Wankhede Stadium is known to be batting-friendly with its short boundaries and dry pitches, hence making it an obvious decision.

The First Innings: Record-Breaking Fireworks
A Solid Start

When captain and opener Rohit Sharma took the crease, there were fireworks from the word go. He hit boundaries in quick succession and gave an early boost to the Indian innings. While the master blasted through the bowlers, the Apprentice, Shubman Gill stabilised the partnership from the other end. 

But Rohit Sharma (47, 29b, 4×4, 6×6) got swayed away in his run-hitting endeavours and got caught by Kane Williamson on Tim Southee’s bowling(10-0-100-3) due to a mistimed shot in the ninth over. 

The King’s Magnificence

Next up at number three was King Kohli. He started with a cautious approach and bided his time while Prince Gill shifted gears and accelerated the innings. Gill went after the seamers and spinners alike before going off the field at 79 as he cramped his thigh. He would return at the tail end of the game to end at a score of 80 runs (not out, 66b, 8×4, 3×6).

Shreyas Iyer came in at his explosive best while Kohli steadily added runs to his kitty.  The Kiwis targeted Shreyas with bouncers, which has proven to be a chink in his armour. But Shreyas kept the momentum up and charged at the Kiwi bowling attack, hitting big sixes. He scored his second consecutive hundred, batting with an impressive strike rate of 150, ending at a score of 105 runs (70b, 4×4, 8×6).

But it was the majestic outing of the King that made even the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar stand up on his feet in appreciation of his magnificence. He played a composed innings with boundaries sprinkled every now and then. 

As Kohli inched closer to his record-breaking 50th ODI Century, the crowd in Mumbai reverberated with the chants of “Kohli, Kohli”. After hitting his record ton, Kohli accelerated the innings in pursuit of reaching the 400-run mark. But he got swayed and got caught off Tim Southee’s bowling. He ended at a commendable score of 117 runs (113b, 9×4, 2×6). Kohli’s intensity and hunger are quite an inspiration not just for the cricketing world but also for all of us.

India posted an intimidating total of 397 runs (loss of 4 wickets, 50 overs), a little shy of the 400-run mark.

The Second Innings: Clash of the Titans

The Blackcaps started on a positive note as openers Devon Conway (13 in 15b) and Rachin Ravindra (13 in 22b) looked steady before Shami scalped their wickets early on in the powerplay.

The Daryl Mitchell Show

But it was skipper Kane Williamson’s watchful eyes and composure, coupled with Daryl Mitchell’s brilliance that made them stitch together a united third-wicket stand of 181 runs. This worried the Indian team and fans alike as they had seen the Kiwi knockout punch before.

Daryl Mitchell went berzerk and hit big sixes, not even sparing stalwart Md. Shami. India was unusually sloppy on the field as they dropped a couple of crucial catches. Even Shami dropped an easy catch of Daryl Mitchell that left the stadium in shock and utter silence, before he redeemed himself with his bowling.

Superb Shami’s Super Over

Kane Williamson (69 in 73b) from the other end provided much-needed support and stuck around till the thirty-third over, before Md. Shami took his wicket to provide a much-needed breakthrough to India. 

In the same over, Shami sent Tom Latham packing to the pavilion with a leg before. The crowd went delirious every time Shami took a wicket. His next victim was Glenn Phillips (41 in 33b). 

Michell was getting tired with every ball he faced until he gave in to Shami’s bowling and got caught by Jadeja. It was the penultimate wicket of centurion Daryl Mitchel (134, 119b, 9×4, 7×6) that put the final nail in the coffin of the Kiwis’ victory aspirations.

After him, the rest of the Kiwi batting lineup was bundled up by the other Indian wicket-taking wizards. Till Md. Shami drew curtains to the Kiwi innings in the 49th over after scalping the wicket of tailender Tim Southee (9 in 10b).

With this Shami got his first seven-wicket haul of the Cup. India’s most successful World Cup bowler, now also holds the record of the most five-wicket hauls in a single edition of the World Cup (3) surpassing Aussie quickie Mitchell Starc.

It was a ripper of a match as India dismissed New Zealand for 327 runs in 48.5 overs. The game was a rollercoaster ride, which held everyone at the edge of their seats.

The Result 

India won by 70 runs to enter the finals. India reach their 4th World Cup Final and defeated NZ for the first time in an ICC knockout match.

After losing the 2019 World Cup Semifinal to the Kiwis, in Manchester, India turned the tables around and took sweet revenge. The Blackcaps gave their all and braved the seething Indian bowling attack making sure that it was the toughest game of the tournament for India.

Road Ahead

The Men in Blue created magic in Mumbai. But can they end India’s 12-year World Cup drought? We’ll get to know that on Sunday (19th Nov ‘2023) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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