India’s Virat Kohli hit a record 50th century and fast bowler Mohammed Shami’s seven-wicket haul was just as crucial as hosts New Zealand were unbeaten and overpowered by 70 runs in a high-scoring semi-final to march into the Cricket World Cup final .
Kohli’s 117 and Shreyas Iyer’s blistering 105 helped India reach 397 for four after winning the toss at the Wankhede Stadium, where the hosts lifted their second and final 50-over World Cup trophy in 2011.
In reply, New Zealand, who had beaten India at the same stage in the 2019 tournament, were bundled out for 327 in the 49th over and Daryl Mitchell’s excellent innings of 134 was in vain.
Australia and South Africa will meet in the second semi-final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, with the final on Sunday in Ahmedabad.
Mitchell added 181 for the third wicket with Kane Williamson to keep the Black Caps firmly in the chase but Shami, who returned both openers, returned to dismiss the Black Caps captain and Tom Latham in one to send India put on top.
The right-handed Mitchell suffered cramps after passing his century but continued to run rampant with Glenn Phillips during a 75-run stand before the latter fell for a 33-ball 41.
The target was ultimately too steep, however, as the Indian juggernaut went on to claim their 10th win in as many games in the 50-over exhibition.
Shami finished with figures of seven for 57, his third five-wicket haul of the tournament.
Kohli’s knock, which came off 113 balls, gave him the record for the highest number of centuries in the 50-over format of the game, taking him past Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian batting great who was in the stands to applaud the achievement .
After taking two runs off fast bowler Lockie Ferguson to get to his mark, Kohli took off his helmet and hobbled to the stands where television cameras showed Tendulkar and former England captain David Beckham standing and clapping. with respect
The 35-year-old hit nine fours and two sixes before striking out in the deep fast bowler Tim Southee, who took three wickets for 100.
Iyer’s blistering 105, which came from 70 balls and was studded with fours and eight sixes, provided the late fireworks for India.
India captain Rohit Sharma, who made 47, gave the hosts a rollicking start in a 71-run opening stand with Shubman Gill.
Gill was sidelined with leg cramps but returned to resume his innings and finished unbeaten on 80.
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