India reached their fourth ICC World Cup final courtesy of Virat Kohli’s record-breaking 50th ODI ton and Mohammed Shami’s 7-57 who helped the Men In Blue beat New Zealand by 70 runs in the semi-final in Mumbai.
Rohit Sharma’s Men went through the Super 10 phase winning all nine games, but everyone knows that playing in a big semi-final is a much bigger test, especially against the team who knocked the hosts out in the semi-final in 2019, by 18 runs.
It was India who won the toss and chose to bat on a sunny afternoon at the Wankhede Stadium, and the Indian Captain got the hosts off to a rollicking start, by scoring 47 off 29.
Shubman Gill also played sumptuous, shots at the other end.Embed from Getty Images
But their opening stand ended at 71-1, as the Indian Captain held out to his counterpart, Williamson at long off.Embed from Getty Images
Kohli and Gill continued to pile on the runs for India.Embed from Getty Images
But just as Gill was approaching his 100, he had to leave the field 164-1 courtesy of cramp in his left hamstring.
But Kohli carried on his supreme form, reached his century in 106 balls, and bowed in front of the great Sachin Tendulkar whose record he had surpassed.Embed from Getty Images
While Shreyas Iyer cashed in at the other end, with back-to-back World Cup hundreds, and his fifth in ODI cricket, in 70 balls.Embed from Getty Images
KL Rahul’s cameo of 39 from 20, propelled India’s score to 397-4 from 50 Overs, this was going to be a tough task for the Kiwis to chase down.
And it got even tougher, when Shami removed Devon Conway for 13, at 30-1.Embed from Getty Images
Rachin Ravindra was Shami’s second scalp, at 39-2.Embed from Getty Images
Daryll Mitchell survived a close call for a catch by Sharma off Jadeja, at 55-2.Embed from Getty Images
But the New Zealand Captain looked in fine touch at the other end.
He did, however, survive a close LBW call on review from Kuldeep Yadav.Embed from Getty Images
And He could have been ran out on 29, had Rahul not broken the stumps before the ball was in his hands.Embed from Getty Images
Mitchell reached 50 in 49 balls.Embed from Getty Images
While the New Zealand Skipper reached his fifty in 58 balls, this partnership was pulling New Zealand back into the game, and it was a worrying time for Sharma and the Indians.Embed from Getty Images
Mitchell was carving India’s bowlers around the park.
And Shami piled more agony on India, by dropping Williamson on 52.Embed from Getty Images
Mitchell reached his second hundred of the World Cup in 85 balls.Embed from Getty Images
Before Shami got the big wicket of Williamson for 69, at 220-3.Embed from Getty Images
And he made it back-to-back success by removing Kiwis Keeper Tom Latham, for a second ball duck, New Zealand were teetering at 220-4.Embed from Getty Images
Glenn Phillips looked dangerous with his 41 off 33.Embed from Getty Images
But he went for one shot too many against Bumrah and perished to Jadeja, who does not drop many, at 295-5Embed from Getty Images
And Jadeja helped Kuldeep Yadav get his first wicket of the game, by catching Mark Chapman on 298-6.Embed from Getty Images
Jadeja took his third catch of the game to help Shami get the crucial wicket of Mitchell for 134 on 306-7.Embed from Getty Images
Mohammed Siraj took his first wicket of the game, by removing Mitchell Santner for 9 at 319-8.Embed from Getty Images
Shami claimed Tim Southee as his fifth scalp of the match at 321-9.Embed from Getty Images
And Shami finished off his match-winning performance, by removing Lockie Ferguson, for his sixth wicket to bowl New Zealand out for 327.Embed from Getty Images
It was a clinical display of fast bowling by the speedster from Bengal, who deserved the Man Of The Match award, despite Kohli’s landmark century.
“I was waiting for my chances. I didn’t play a lot of white-ball cricket. “The last two World Cups, we lost in the semis. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so we wanted to do everything for this, one chance we didn’t want to let go.”Shami: BBC Sport
Meanwhile, Sharma praised his team for a magnificent performance, especially when they were put under pressure.
“I have played a lot of cricket here so I know with any score on this ground you cannot relax.”We knew there would be pressure on us at some stage. We just had to stay collected. That’s what we did. We were very calm even though we were sloppy in the field. “Daryl Mitchell and Kane Wiliamson batted brilliantly. For us it was important to stay calm. We tried everything and Mohammed Shami was brilliant.”Sharma: BBC Sport
A dejected Williamson congratulated India for their performance and congratulated India for their performance in this tournament.
“Congratulations to India. They’ve played outstandingly well throughout and perhaps played their best game of the competition here. “It was a proud effort to stay in the fight. It’s disappointing to go out in the knockout stages, but I’m super proud of the effort that has gone into these seven weeks as a side.”Williamson: BBC Sport