India in final: 10/10 Men in Blue Stay Unbeaten Kohli breaks Sachin’s record, becomes first to slam 50th ODI ton

India, losers in the previous two semifinals of the World Cup, are in the final after a 12-year gap following yet another complete team performance — Virat Kohli scored his 50th ODI century, Shreyas Iyer got his second in a row, Mohammed Shami finished with seven wickets, and the home team defended an eminently defendable 397 against New Zealand.

At the venue where they won the World Cup crown in 2011, India got through into the final after beating New Zealand by 70 runs, and though the Kiwis gave India a good fight in the face of an impossible target — “got a sniff”, said captain Kane Williamson later — the home team’s win was never in doubt.

Rohit Sharma, who has shaped the team in his image — irreverent, aggressive, fearless — and his men paid back for the faith he reposed in them. He got India going with a selflessly aggressive 47 off 29 that made the New Zealand paceman forget their lines; Shubman Gill (80) and Shreyas Iyer (117) did the same. Virat Kohli was allowed, thus, to play his role to perfection — bat long and deep, as an insurance against a collapse — while everyone around him could go hard at the opposition.

The pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj copped some punishment — not really unexpected, on a slow and flat track; but they had the luxury of a massive total on the board.

“Today being the semifinal, won’t say there was no pressure… Semifinal adds a bit extra, we wanted to not think too much about it,” said Rohit later. “Last two World Cups, we lost (in the semifinals),” said Shami. “Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance! So we wanted to do everything for this.”

As for Williamson, he was left ashen-faced, yet still smiling, and words of praise for India, and warning to their final opponents: “They’re the best team in the world.”

Shami’s 7-wicket haul

Pacer Mohammed Shami, who scalped top four Kiwi batters, sealed New Zealand’s fate by ending Daryl Mitchell’s belligerent knock. Shami ended up with a gold-standard seven-wicket haul.

Pacer Mohammed Shami, who scalped top four Kiwi batters, sealed New Zealand’s fate by ending Daryl Mitchell’s belligerent knock. Shami ended up with a gold-standard seven-wicket haul.

 

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