Mohammed Shami picks up seven wickets, Virat Kohli hammers record century as India beat New Zealand by 70 runs to reach World Cup final

In a high-scoring semi-final match where the Men in Blue successfully averted a repetition of the 2019 debacle, Indian bowlers dominated the show following a swashbuckling performance by batsmen to ensure the hosts defeated New Zealand by 70 runs to reach the mega-final of the iconic World Cup in Mumbai on Wednesday (November 15, 2023).

India beat New Zealand by 70 runs to reach World Cup final. Photo Courtesy: Jay Shah X page

Riding on Indian batting maestro Virat Kohli’s record-breaking 117 runs and  Shreyas Iyer’s thrilling 105 runs, India posted a mammoth 397 runs for the loss of four wickets.

Despite a strong show by Daryl Mitchell (134) and Kane Williamson (69), Indian bowlers kept things tight and under control to bowl out the opposition for 327 runs. 

Mohammed Shami remained the pick of the Indian bowlers as he dismissed seven New Zealand wickets, an opponent team that had defeated the Men In Blue in the World Cup semi-final in 2019.

Mitchell fought hard to keep New Zealand’s hopes alive as he hammered nine boundaries and seven sixes in his memorable knock in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Kane Williamson remained the second-highest run-scorer for the former World Cup runners-up team with his 69 runs knock. He hit eight boundaries and a six in his captain’s innings.

Apart from Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav picked up a wicket each in the innings.

Earlier, India posted 397 runs for the loss of four wickets with Virat Kohli and his 50th ODI century remaining the key highlight point of the innings.

Kohli shattered Sachin Tendulkar’s record to reach the 50th ODI century in the evening, giving a chance to the Mumbai crowd and millions watching all over a moment to celebrate.

Virat’s classy century came off after a blazing start given by openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. And, Iyer (105) brought up his ton from 67 balls.

Rohit backed his instincts and took on Trent Boult in his very first over by tonking a couple of streaky boundaries and clearly signalling his intent of making quick runs.

The India captain motored on in following overs too as he went after the Kiwi bowlers along with Gill, who batted with a decent intent. He went past Chris Gayle’s record of the most sixes in the history of the Cricket World Cup after getting his third maximum of the innings.

Unfortunately, Rohit fell three short of a half-century after he lifted a slower ball from Tim Southee high in the air, where captain Kane Williamson ran backward to take a terrific catch.

Finding a good partner in Kohli, Gill kept the run rate going with some exquisite shots and helped India reach 150 by the end of 20th over, besides becoming the third-highest run-getter in ODI history.

As India chugged along at a good pace, Kiwi bowlers could not check the Indian batsmen, until Gill (79 off 65 8x4s 3x6s) was adjudged absent hurt after he picked up cramps.

As soon as Shreyas Iyer walked in, he was among the runs and uncorked a couple of big shots against Rachin Ravindra. Kohli notched up his first fifty in a World Cup knockout game, in the same over. He lifted Southee over legside for a six as India kept steaming up runs in the 30th over.

During the 34th over, he reached 674 runs in this edition of the World Cup. This helped him go one better over Sachin Tendulkar’s 673 at the 2003 World Cup, which was the record for the most runs in a single edition of the tournament.

Iyer and Kohli added 100 runs off just 79 balls, but India’s innings tempered down as the former captain was closing in for his record ODI century and starting to suffer from a hamstring cramp.

Recovering from it, Kohli milked through and reached his record-breaking milestone by taking two off Lockie Ferguson. Kohli opened his arms after reaching three figures, racing through the gears before departing to Southee for 117 from 113 balls to a standing ovation.

But, the excellent Iyer continued the momentum into the death overs as India turned their focus to a big-scoring finish.

Iyer’s hundred came off 67 balls, the third quickest by an Indian man at a Cricket World Cup, with eight of his 12 boundaries being sixes before he departed for 105 to Boult.