India opener Shubman Gill said he was inspired by Virat Kohli’s “hunger” after the two batsmen starred in the 70-run World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand on Wednesday. The unbeaten hosts piled up 397-4, and Kohli compiled the record 50th one-day international century in 117 innings, surpassing the 49 centuries he shared with retired India great Sachin Tendulkar. Shreyas Iyer piled on the agony for New Zealand with a quick 105 and Gill, who finished on 80 not out, could have had a century as well had he not retired earlier injured at the Wankhede Stadium.
Gill, however, was in the thick of it with Kohli and they added 93 for the second wicket after Indian captain Rohit Sharma launched the innings with a typically quickfire 47.
“Every time he comes on the field, he does something special and how consistently he’s been able to do it over the last 10-15 years is really inspiring,” Gill said of Kohli.
“It’s not so much about his skill, but it’s more about the hunger when he goes there and the intensity with which he plays the game that inspires me.
“To be able to do that consistently as long as he’s been doing it is what really inspires me.”
On opening alongside Rohit, the 24-year-old Junior World Cup winner Gill said: “He plays 10 more; I play 15-20 balls. I rest and Rohit comes and does his thing. He scores four score, six. score six – and I’m just looking.
“My role is just to play my game in the powerplay. Look for good shots, look for good boundaries and then when the powerplay is over, I can rotate the strike.”
Gill added: “If I hadn’t got a cramp, I might have scored a hundred … it started with cramps and then I pulled my hamstring a bit.”
But he insisted he would be “certainly fit for Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad against Australia or South Africa.
New Zealand, losing rivals in the last two World Cups, struggled in pursuit of a mammoth target of 398, despite a fine 134 from Daryl Mitchell.
Mohammed Shami did the damage during a stunning return of 7-57, the paceman producing the best figures by any bowler in a World Cup semi-final, and by any Indian in an ODI, as the unbeaten hosts made it 10 wins from 10 at. the competition.
Gill said it was tough enough to face the likes of Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in practice, let alone in the middle.
“It’s very difficult in the nets. But it’s fun to play because even Bumrah, Siraj and Shami – they enjoy playing with us in the nets and it’s definitely very challenging.”
(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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