Thanks to Mohammed Shami’s seven-wicket haul, India defeated New Zealand by 70 runs to qualify for the ODI Cricket World Cup final for the first time in 12 years. The Rohit Sharma-led team is one win away from breaking a 10-year ICC title drought. India knocked New Zealand out for 327 while defending a score of 397, with Shami taking 7/57. Earlier, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer both scored century to help India reach 397/4 after Rohit Sharma chose to bat first. During his innings, Virat Kohli broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tonnes.
With 178 required from 18 overs and 220 for two, New Zealand had a remote opportunity to mount a historic run chase. However, Shami trapped Williamson in deep off a slower ball and then hit Tom Latham leg before delivering a one-two to the solar plexus. Although Glenn Phillips, who has the build of a boxer, swung his arms around and struck 41 in a 75-run stand with Mitchell, Jasprit Bumrah’s slower ball won the match. After dismissing the first two openers, Shami came back to complete the match and get the greatest bowling stats of the competition.
In their quest for a third World Cup victory and their second on home soil, India has won all ten of its tournament matches to date. They will now compete in Sunday’s Ahmedabad final either South Africa or Australia, who play on Thursday. With two early wickets, including one off his opening delivery, Shami reduced New Zealand’s lead to 39-2. However, a third-wicket stand of 181 between Mitchell and skipper Kane Williamson gave the Black Caps hope for an unlikely win. But in the 33rd over, Shami took two wickets in three balls, effectively ending the pursuit.
Trent Boult bowled one for 86 and Tim Southee three for 100 from ten overs for New Zealand, which was a complete shambles. It’s difficult to judge if the pitch had any impact. It was slower than normal, which could have had an impact on Southee and Boult. After 12 years, India has reached the final. They win by a score of 70 runs. Shami becomes the first Indian bowler in World Cup history to capture seven wickets.
Rohit Sharma, Indian Captain: “I’ve played a lot of cricket here, any score on this ground, you can’t relax. Got to get the job done quickly and stay at it. We knew there will be pressure on us. We were very calm, even though we were a bit sloppy on the field. These things are bound to happen but glad we could get the job done. It’s hard to say if we would’ve been in trouble. They wouldn’t have taken those risks. Williamson and Mitchell batted brilliantly. Was important for us to stay calm. The crowd went silent, but we knew we needed a catch or run out. Shami was brilliant. The form all the guys are in, top five-six batters, whenever they’ve gotten an opportunity, they’ve made it count. Very pleased to see what Iyer has done for us this tournament. Gill, the way he’s batted for us has been brilliant. Unfortunate he had to go off with cramps. Kohli did what he does, also got to his landmark century as well. England game we got 230 on the board, way bowlers bowled with the new ball was amazing. Today obviously being the semifinal, won’t say there was no pressure, whenever you play there’s pressure. Semifinal adds a bit extra, we wanted to not think too much about it, just do what we’ve been doing like in the first nine games. Things came off for us nicely in the second half.”
Kane Williamson: “Firstly, congrats to India, they played outstandingly well, probably their best game today. 400 was naturally going to be tough but credit to the guys, proud effort to stay in the fight. Disappointing to go out but super proud of the effort that’s gone in for the last seven weeks. The effort was there, but like I said India are top class, have world class batters who didn’t give us a sniff really. You come in and get 400, it’s a tick in the box. They deserve to be where they are, played outstandingly well. It wasn’t to be today but nice to be out there to give ourselves a chance. It was a fantastic crowd, unbelievable atmosphere, slightly one-sided in the support but special to be part of the tournament, great to be hosted here by India. We had some incredible contributions, as a team there was real commitment to the cricket we wanted to play, Rachin and Mitchell were special throughout the campaign, on varied surfaces. They played really, really well. Bowlers chipped in, a lot of fight, proud of that. Even if it didn’t go our way, ultimately moving forward as a team, we’ve taken some really good steps in the right direction.”
Mohammed Shami is the Player of the Match: “I was waiting for my chances. I didn’t play a lot of white-ball cricket. My return started against New Zealand. We talk a lot of variations, but I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball. I dropped Williamson’s catch, I shouldn’t have. I felt terrible. But the focus was to try and take pace off, see if they’re hitting it in the air. It was a chance we had to take. The wicket was very good, lots of runs were scored in the afternoon. There was some fear of dew, the grass had been shaved off from the wicket. If dew was there, it skids on and there’s a chance runs could’ve been made. It feels amazing. Last two World Cups, we lost. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so we wanted to do everything for this, one chance we didn’t want to let go.”