MUMBAI, India (AP) — Virat Kohli struck a record-breaking century and Mohammed Shami took seven wickets to guide India into the Cricket World Cup final on Wednesday.
India beat New Zealand by 70 runs in the first semifinal match in Mumbai, sparked by Kohli’s 117 that propelled the host nation to a daunting 397-4 and thrilled a passionate crowd at Wankhede Stadium which included David Beckham.
It was Kohli’s 50th ODI hundred, breaking the record for the format he shared with India great Sachin Tendulkar, who was also at the stadium.
Shreyas Iyer scored his second consecutive hundred in the tournament – 105 off 70 balls with four boundaries and eight sixes – as India reached the highest score in a World Cup knockout game.
The Black Caps were bowled out for 327 in their reply, with pacer Shami (7-57) taking the first four wickets — including two in three deliveries when New Zealand was going well on 220-2. Daryl Mitchell hit 134 off 119 balls.
Shami has three five-wicket hauls in six appearances this World Cup and a record four in total at the tournament.
They were the best bowling figures by an Indian bowler in ODIs, and also the best bowling figures in a World Cup knockout game. Shami, who is now the leading bowler in the tournament with 23 wickets in only six games, was named player of the match.
“I try to take as many wickets as possible with the new ball. This is a huge platform,” he said. “We lost in the semifinals in 2015 and 2019. I want to cash in on the chance I have been given … don’t know when we will get this chance again.”
The stadium was bathed in blue jerseys and packed for a special occasion with a galaxy of cricket, soccer and Bollywood stars in attendance. Beckham attended the game as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
Earlier, Kohli put on 93 runs with Shubman Gill (80), who retired hurt after scoring 79 off 65 balls. Then Kohli put on 163 runs off 128 balls with Iyer.
Rohit Sharma didn’t hesitate to bat first, with the game’s start marred by controversy over a last-minute switch in the pitch used.
The Indian skipper hit four sixes and four fours. His 47 runs off 29 balls helped India get off the blocks, adding 71 off 50 with Gill for the first wicket. Sharma fell in the ninth over with Kane Williamson making a catch running back from mid-off.
In walked Kohli, who went about building his innings. He was happy to take the back seat as Gill took the attack to New Zealand after Sharma’s dismissal — hitting eight fours and three sixes as he reached 50 off 41 balls.
India crossed 150 in 19.4 overs, before Gill was injured. He responded gingerly to Kohli’s call for a single. He walked off the field after receiving attention from the Indian physiotherapist.
New Zealand’s attack looked toothless on a typical sub-continental wicket. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner did well to finish with 0-51 in 10 overs where the innings run-rate was above seven an over throughout.
Kohli’s innings, which included nine fours and two sixes, ended when he holed out off Tim Southee, who took 3-100 in 10 overs. He walked off to a standing ovation.
It was Kohli’s first major score in a World Cup knockout game, having failed to make double figures in three previous semifinals.
After his dismissal, Iyer took charge of the innings and raced to his hundred. His second 50 came off 32 deliveries. Lokesh Rahul finished with 39 off 20, hitting five fours and two sixes.
“It feels like a dream … too good to be true, feels surreal to me,” Kohli said at the innings’ break. “My wife is here, the person I love the most. My idol is also here, and I was able to get to the 50th in front of them… in front of this crowd, this venue is so historic. If I could paint the perfect picture, this would be it.”
It wasn’t as easy a win as some home fans might have expected after Shami had removed both New Zealand openers Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra for 13 runs apiece.
At 39-2, Mitchell came together with Williamson, who scored 69 runs off 73 balls. The duo put on 181 runs off just under 25 overs for the second wicket — they started slowly, cleverly picking boundaries that put pressure back on the Indian bowlers.
New Zealand was up to 100 in 16.4 overs. Williamson reached 50 off 58 balls. Mitchell scored 50 off 49 and hit nine fours and seven sixes overall.
Williamson enjoyed two lives. First, in the 18th over, ‘keeper Lokesh Rahul failed to take advantage when the Black Caps captain was sent back from a run and out of the crease. He was on 29 then.
Rahul broke the stumps with his glove before the ball could reach the stumps. There was a lack of evidence that the second bail was off the stumps, thus ruling Williamson not out.
Shami dropped a catch off Jasprit Bumrah in the 29th over, with Williamson on 52.
The pacer more than made amends, though. Williamson holed out in the 33rd over off Shami, with Suryakumar Yadav taking a calm catch to recharge the Indian fans. It was a game-changing moment that sucked out New Zealand’s momentum. Shami trapped Tom Latham lbw for a two-ball duck in the same over.
Mitchell had reached his second hundred of the World Cup off 85 balls, but he was laid low with cramps. His partnership with Glenn Phillips (41) came off 61 balls and they put on 75 runs.
Put under pressure, India was poor in the field with even Ravindra Jadeja guilty of getting carried away and giving over throws. But he too made amends, like Shami, taking two fine catches to send back Phillips and Mark Chapman (2).
Kuldeep Yadav bowled a fine last two overs, giving away only six runs.
The wind went out of New Zealand’s sails when Mitchell was caught off Shami in the 46th over — his third five-wicket haul in the tournament.
“I felt bad at dropping Kane’s catch,” Shami said. “I tried a slower delivery as they were playing well and hitting their shots. There wasn’t much dew, and we had enough runs. If there was more dew, we could have been in trouble.”
India, which has won all 10 of its games, will play in the title match for the fourth time and will look to win it for the third time, after 1983 and 2011.
Australia plays South Africa on Thursday in Kolkata in the other semifinal match. The final is on Sunday in Ahmedabad.
AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket