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Brilliant Shami stars in India’s win over New Zealand

Mohammed Shami

India beat New Zealand by 70 runs in the semifinal of the Cricket World Cup at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai last Wednesday, Nov. 15. India posted a humongous total of 397/4 in their stipulated 50 overs and then bowled the Kiwis out for 327 with seven balls to spare.

Mohammed Shami took 7/57 to be adjudged the man of the match, thereby taking his tally of wickets to 23 in the tournament. Daryl Mitchell was the highest run-scorer for either team with a commendable 134, but his efforts were not enough to save the day for his team.

India batters made merry in favourable conditions

India won the toss and elected to bat first on a featherbed of a pitch. Rohit Sharma once again gave his team a rollicking start, never allowing the New Zealand pacers to be comfortable during his stay in the crease.

The hot weather did not help New Zealand’s cause either and moreover, there was no swing on offer for them. However, the inability of Trent Boult and Tim Southee to bowl with an upright seam helped the Indian batters. There were very few, if any, genuine wicket-taking deliveries in the Indian innings.

The smaller ground in Mumbai meant that the Indian batters like Rohit, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer cleared the ground with ease. There were 19 sixes in the Indian innings and their batters also kept advancing down the pitch to convert the deliveries into half-volleys.

The Indians also played a few wonderful shots off their pads and a short arm jab that Gill played over the mid-wicket boundary was simply breath-taking. The Indian batters never took their feet off the pedal, as Kohli and Iyer hit centuries to make their total almost unassailable.

Only Mitchell Santner had any sort of respectability about his bowling figures. Kohli also broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record by scoring his 50th century in ODI cricket.

Shami did the trick with the ball to restrict New Zealand

Shami and Jaspreet Bumrah did precisely what the Kiwi pacers were not able to do _ hit the deck with an upright seam. There was some lateral movement under the lights, too, and Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra displayed somewhat poor techniques by playing away from their bodies.

With both the left-handers dismissed cheaply by Shami, the onus was on skipper Kane Williamson and Mitchell to take the fight to the Indians. They did so by adding 180-odd runs for the third wicket to give the Kiwis a glimmer of hope of doing the unthinkable.

However, Williamson fell while playing a flick and Tom Latham was trapped in front of the wicket by Shami in the same over to end New Zealand’s hopes.

Mitchell kept attacking by playing lofted shots down the ground and Glenn Phillips gave him company for some time, but Shami kept striking at regular intervals to have the best figures for an Indian bowler in the World Cup. Still, for the first time in the tournament, the Indian bowling attack looked under some pressure and leaked runs profusely.

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