WC: India defeats New Zealand by 4-wicket thanks to Kohli's outstanding 95
By siliconindia | Monday, 23 October 2023, 08:38:19 AM IST
Despite missing out on a 49th ODI century and matching the all-time great Sachin Tendulkar's record, Virat Kohli's 95 off 104 balls ensured that India completed a fifth consecutive chase and now top the points table after a hard-fought four-wicket victory over New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium. In his first World Cup match, pacer Mohammed Shami struck an incredible 5-54 to help India limit New Zealand to 273. Kohli then took over and masterfully led the run chase, hitting eight fours and two sixes in addition to running 43 singles and four twos to chase down 274 with two overs remaining. His brilliance in a run-chase took the spotlight away from Daryl Mitchell making a 127-ball 130 in the first innings.
Chasing 274, Rohit Sharma continued his marauding way of starting by flicking Trent Boult through square leg for four, before dancing down the pitch to slam Matt Henry for six and ending the over with another boundary. After Rohit survived a half-chance against Boult going for four, Shubman Gill opened up by driving in the gap at cover off Henry. Boult wasn’t getting swing, so Rohit smacked him for a six over sight-screen, followed by Gill flicking and cutting off him to pick boundaries, also making him the fastest batter to reach 2000 ODI runs in just 38 innings, going past Hashim Amla’s mark of 40 innings.
Henry got the ball to move both ways, but Gill played a beautiful on-drive off him for four, before Rohit ramped and smacked a four and six against the pacer. Lockie Ferguson struck with his first ball of the night by having Rohit chop onto his stumps and later on, had Gill upper-cut a bouncer to third man. Shreyas Iyer had a busy start by driving and pulling Ferguson for two boundaries, before flicking off Santner to get his third four. He took a liking to Ferguson’s pace, punching and pulling for two fours before heavy fog forced a ten-minute break. Post that, Kohli brought out a cover drive and glance for picking boundaries against Ferguson.
Boult got Iyer’s wicket when he cramped the batter on the short ball and the top edge off a mistimed hook was caught by a diving deep square-leg fielder. After giving respect to some disciplined bowling, Kohli got into his groove by lofting inside-out off Ravindra for six, before driving off Henry for four. Though Kohli got his fifty and stood strong from one end, he was losing partners. K.L Rahul was trapped lbw while trying to defend against Santner, with New Zealand getting the wicket on review. Santner then fired in a direct throw to have Suryakumar Yadav run out in a mix-up.
Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja kept the scoreboard ticking by mixing strike-rotation with hitting occasional boundaries to keep the required run-rate in check. While Jadeja attacked Ferguson and Ravindra for boundaries, Kohli was sedate and pulled off Phillips and Ferguson for his fours. Kohli pulled Boult for six and brought out the on-drive for four, before mistiming a flick to deep mid-wicket to fall for 95. But Jadeja finished off the chase in style with a pull off Boult for four to seal an Indian victory.
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