Mumbai: A King Kohli grandest of grand milestone of 50 centuries, a quickfire ton by Shreyas Iyer in 67 balls, a fiery 47-run start by skipper Sharma, an 80 by Shubman Gill and a late charge of 39 runs by K L Rahul.
Wait, there’s more. A seven-wicket haul by Mohammad Shami against New Zealand, with a first ball wicket in both the matches against New Zealand in this World Cup – India won the semifinals by 70 runs in a complete show of dominance to reach the Final in Ahmedabad, unbeaten and unbreachable.
- November 15, 2023 " class="align-text-top noRightClick twitterSection" data="
With this hard-fought win, India shed the 2019 heartbreak in style and with a heartwarming display of armoury by Shami which quelled a worrying uprising by the New Zealand players. Shami cleaned out the top five Kiwi batsmen (batters), including centurion Daryn Mitchell, before topping it with another two and entering the hall of famed bowlers amid hugs and applauds of his teammates and the crowd, respectively.
If it was all about Sharma’s fiery start building a mountain of 397 runs under a searing sun, it was all about a one-man show of Shami and his seven-wicket haul breaking the back of the Black Caps. He now has 54 wickets in 17 World Cup matches, five four-wicket hauls and four five-fors in this edition.
This makes him a legend among legends to take seven wickets in a knockout match of a World Cup. His figures were touched by God – 9.5 overs, seven wickets at a miserly 5.5 run rate.
Shami, the arm that has been crushing a thousand dreams, started from where he left off in the last match. In his very first ball, he swung into action compelling Devon Conway to edge to K L Rahul to dived full stretch to his left to take an impossible looking catch.
Williamson who he first dropped off Bumrah and then got to a catch by Surya at deep square, gave some worrying moments teaming up with centurion Mitchell building up a 150 plus partnership in the middle before departing at 69. The second one, another big one! Rachin Ravindran was plucked by Shami, again to a compelling nick. The seam up bowling paying dividends early in the game for Shami who also compelled a Rahul workout into taking a quick low catch.
Despite a rare wide and wild outing by Jasprit Bumrah, the great Indian show had begun – two wickets in the first powerplay matching with the team target. Conway walked at 13 runs in 15 balls bringing the Kiwis to 30-1, early in their innings.
Shami’s third was a double in one over, when he trapped Tom Latham in a delightful double strike in the 36 th over. Latham went for a duck and the Kiwi construction was getting dismantled by one dogged master slayer – Mohammed Shami.
It was not a shambles performance by the Kiwis with Daryl Mitchell rising like the north star, unmoved by the daunting task before him and scoring a century in the most demanding of circumstances, in a scenario where the star performer Rachin Ravindran departed cheaply in the first powerplay, getting overawed by Shami’s blitzkrieg.
Mitchell’s century came in 84 balls, marked by eight boundaries and five massive sixes. But it was a contribution for a lost cause, what with the run rate mounting to insurmountable proportions, rising from 7 an over to 8 to over 12 by the 37 th over.
Bumrah, for the first time in the tournament, went for over six runs and over and looked human and ordinary for a change. Jadeja, too, finished his spell with a 6.3 run-rate despite bowling from both ends in a variation inserted by the skipper.
He was particularly unlucky as he was denied two wickets due to two dropped catches, one by Shami and the other by Sharma, and he completed his spell giving away 64 runs and getting one wicket.
A 397 score was always a tough ask but the Kiwis did not give up till the very end and went down fighting at Wankhede where dew look leave for the night in aid of the home team.
The bowlers, especially the Indian quicks, tried hard to end the proceedings earlier but were faced by the Mitchell effect that just kept getting more stubborn and resistant. The worry lines on the brow of Sharma kept increasing moreson with one over by Shiraj going for 19 runs. His replacement Bumrah finally settled wavering heartbeats in the stands by getting Phillips at 41 when New Zealand had made 295 runs and were battling a run rate of over 15.
A toiling Kuldeep Yadav finally got his prize with Mark Chapman lofting him to Jadeja at mid-wicket for two runs, bringing down the sixth wicket at 298, exactly 100 runs to possible victory. He finished his spell of 10 overs for 56 runs and one wicket, making him most economical of bowlers and fruitful too. New Zealand reached 300 in 44.1 overs.
The end of 45 overs, the run rate for New Zealand mounted to over 18 runs an over and Sharma got active with instructions to his bowlers, including Bumrah, and also Shami who replaced Yadav to deliver his last spell.
Just then Shami got his fifth one when he sent Mitchell straight into the waiting hands of Jadeja at mid-on. Mitchell walked for 134 in 119 balls with nine fours and seven sixes. New Zealand were breathing their last in the game at 306-7 and a run rate of over 22 runs an over.
The typical head rubbing tribute to his coach was instant. This was his second fiver against New Zealand, the first one coming against the Kiwis in the league game at Dharamsala and his fourth in the World Cup.