Mumbai: In a commanding display of batting prowess, India asserted their dominance in the first World Cup semifinal against New Zealand, posting a mammoth 397 for four at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. The Indian juggernaut was spearheaded by none other than Virat Kohli, who etched his name into the annals of cricket history by notching up his 50th ODI hundred, a world record that stands as a testament to his unparalleled talent.
Skipper Rohit Sharma set the tone for the team’s commanding performance with his aggressive knock of 47 off 29 balls. His fiery start sent shockwaves through the Kiwi bowling attack, creating early havoc and laying the foundation for India’s imposing total.
While Sharma’s departure didn’t dampen the team’s spirits, the baton was seamlessly passed to Shreyas Iyer, who unleashed a scintillating century of his own. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill’s fluent 79 off 65 balls further compounded New Zealand’s woes, leaving them reeling under the weight of India’s relentless batting onslaught.
Despite retiring hurt due to cramps, Gill’s contribution remained significant, adding another layer of depth to India’s formidable batting lineup. The stage was then set for Kohli to etch his name into the history books, as he surpassed the legendary Sachin Tendulkar to become the first player to score 50 ODI centuries. This monumental achievement stands as a beacon of Kohli’s exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the game.
The imposing target set by India has placed New Zealand in a challenging position, leaving them facing an uphill task in their quest to secure a place in the World Cup final. With the weight of expectations squarely on their shoulders, the Kiwis will need to muster every ounce of their cricketing skills to overcome this formidable challenge.
Brief Scores: India 397/4 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 117, Shreyas Iyer 105, Gill 80*; Southee 3/100).