India outshine New Zealand in style, reach first ODI World Cup final since 2011

Virat Kohli’s world record 50th ODI century and Shreyas Iyer’s scintillating century powered India into the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 final with a 70-run win over New Zealand in their last four on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma’s pyrotechnics (47 off 29 balls), Kohli’s (117 off 113) and Iyer’s (105 off 70) tons, and Shubman Gill’s brilliant 66-ball 80, who retired injured for ages, propelled India . 397 was imposed for four after the skipper won a good toss.

New Zealand were restricted to 327 in 48.5 overs as Mohammed Shami finished with incredible figures of 7/57.

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The highlight of New Zealand’s innings was a 181-run partnership between Kane Williamson (69) and Daryl Mitchell (134).The Kiwis, chasing a mammoth 398 to win, had previously been reduced to 30-1 Mitchell and Williamson produced a 181-run partnership to drag the side back into contention. Joining the side on 39, the duo broke the previous record of 160 runs by Williamson and Ross Taylor against the West Indies in 2019.

Mitchell completed a fine first century with two quick wickets at the other end as New Zealand’s quest for a World Cup semi-final victory over India suffered a setback. But he responded with an 85-ball century that included eight fours and five sixes, his second of the tournament against India to give the Black Caps hope of a second consecutive World Cup win on the India after 2019 win in a rain-affected match in Manchester.

Star batsman Williamson, however, fell for 69 when he turned Mohammed Shami — who fell for 52 — straight to Suryakumar Yadav at deep square leg. Two balls later, it was 220-3 in the 33rd over when Shami had Tom Latham lbw for a duck, and the paceman had taken four New Zealand wickets to fall. The biggest run by any runner-up team to win a World Cup semi-final is New Zealand’s Duckworth/Lewis adjusted 299-6 against South Africa at Auckland in 2015.

Earlier, Rohit went after the bowling immediately, and almost killed the competition in the first hour of play at the Wankhede Stadium, his brilliant range of stokes leaving the Kiwis bruised and battered. Going one too many, Rohit fell for a 29-ball 47 but Gill took over from there and continued to torment the Kiwis with his repertoire of strokes.

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After Gill’s return, Kohli and Iyer continued the good work to set up an incredible target for New Zealand. Gill, however, came back and was not out on 80 off 66 balls.

During his innings, Kohli also became the first batsman in the history of the game to score 50 ODI centuries, surpassing his idol Sachin Tendulkar.

(With agency input)

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