Kohli and Shami star as India reach World Cup final
MUMBAI, India (AFP) — Virat Kohli scored a record-breaking 50th One-Day International hundred before Mohammed Shami took a sensational seven-wicket haul as India sealed a place in the World Cup final with a 70-run win over New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Kohli made 117, to surpass the record he had shared with India great Sachin Tendulkar, and Shreyas Iyer a rapid 105 in a commanding total of 397-4 that also featured Shubman Gill’s 80 not out after he retired hurt on 79.
Shami then took a 7-57 as New Zealand, the losing finalists at the last two World Cups and conquerors of India in a 2019 semi-final, were dismissed for 327.
That was despite Daryl Mitchell’s 134, which topped his previous ODI best of 130 during a pool defeat by India earlier in the tournament.
Shami’s figures were the best by an Indian bowler in a ODI and the best in any World Cup semi-final, surpassing Australia left-arm quick Gary Gilmour’s 6-14 against England in 1975.
India, who’ve won all 10 of their matches so far as they bid for a third World Cup title and second on home soil, will face either Australia or South Africa, who play on Thursday, in Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad.
“I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball,” said Shami.
“The last two World Cups, we lost in the semis. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so this was one chance we didn’t want to let go.”
First-change Shami struck twice early on, taking a wicket with his first ball, to leave New Zealand 39-2.
But the Black Caps then enjoyed a revival during a third-wicket partnership of 181 between Captain Williamson and Mitchell.
Shami, however, all but ended the chase with two wickets in three balls during the 33rd over.
Williamson fell for 69 when he flicked Shami — who had dropped him on 52 — straight to Suryakumar Yadav at deep square leg.
And 220-3 became 220-4 when Shami had Tom Latham lbw for a duck.
“We knew we had to pull something from up our sleeves,” said India Captain Rohit Sharma, who made a dashing 47 at the top of the order.
“We tried everything and Mohammed Shami was brilliant.”
Mitchell’s 119-ball innings, including nine fours and seven sixes, ended when he whipped Shami to Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket, with New Zealand all but beaten at 306-7.
Defeat left New Zealand still searching for their first men’s 50-over World Cup title.
“Congratulations to India,” said Williamson. “They’re a top side at the top of their game…But credit to the guys. I’m proud of the effort to stay in the fight.”
Kohli’s innings saw him surpass the mark of 49 hundreds he had shared with Tendulkar as his compatriot looked on from the Wankhede Stadium stands in a capacity 33,000 crowd featuring football star David Beckham.
Kohli put on 163 with Iyer, who made 105 off just 70 balls, including four fours and eight sixes.
“It feels like a dream. Too good to be true,” said Kohli at the innings break.
Tendulkar hailed Kohli’s “skill and passion”.
“I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record,” wrote Tendulkar on X, formerly Twitter.
There was controversy at the start on Wednesday following revelations the match was being played on a used, rather than fresh, pitch.
New Zealand thought they had number three Kohli out for a second-ball duck, lbw to Southee, but their review revealed an inside edge.
An unflustered Kohli completed his third of the tournament, as chants of “Kohli, Kohli” rang round the ground with a two off Ferguson, having faced 106 balls, hitting eight fours and a six.
Tendulkar led the applause as Kohli bowed towards his childhood hero.
Dropped on 107, Kohli was eventually out when he pulled Southee low to deep square leg and the dynamic Iyer’s second-successive hundred ended after he holed out off Trent Boult.
Shami, who took his previous best of 5-18 under the Wankhede lights when Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 55 in pool play, had an immediate success Wednesday.
Devon Conway could only edge his late-moving first ball, with wicketkeeper KL Rahul holding a brilliant diving catch.
Shami then had Rachin Ravindra, a breakout star with three hundreds in his first World Cup, caught behind for 13 as well.