Virat Kohli‘s performance in a crucial World Cup match against New Zealand was nothing short of extraordinary, though it fell just short of matching the legendary Sachin Tendulkar‘s record. Kohli, in sublime form, smashed 95 runs, leading India to a thrilling four-wicket victory and maintaining their unbeaten streak in the tournament with five wins in as many matches.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami was instrumental in India’s success, taking an impressive 5-54 to dismantle the New Zealand batting order, which managed to post a total of 273 runs thanks to Daryl Mitchell’s brilliant century. This marked New Zealand’s first loss in the tournament, leaving them in second place behind the leaders, India, in the 10-team table.
Kohli’s stellar performance included key partnerships, most notably a 78-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja, who secured the win for India with an unbeaten 39, further highlighting his all-round capabilities. Kohli’s pursuit of a century, which would have equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 one-day international centuries, was thwarted when he fell to Matt Henry’s delivery in an attempt for a glory shot.
Despite this near-miss, Kohli has been the tournament’s leading run-scorer with an impressive tally of 340 runs. Captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill provided a strong opening partnership of 71 runs, but they were removed by New Zealand’s fast bowler, Lockie Ferguson, in his first two overs.
Kohli, alongside Shreyas Iyer, played a vital role in the middle order, trying to rebuild the innings, and they did a commendable job, despite a brief halt in play due to fog. However, Trent Boult’s skillful delivery, in his second spell, led to Iyer’s dismissal.
Kohli, in partnership with KL Rahul, who contributed 27 runs, continued to steer India forward, until left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner managed to break through, trapping Rahul lbw. A mix-up between Suryakumar Yadav and Kohli resulted in Yadav’s run-out for just two runs, creating a tense moment, but Kohli maintained his composure.
Ultimately, it was Kohli’s determination and partnership with the left-handed Jadeja that ensured India’s victory. Mohammed Shami’s exceptional bowling performance, his second five-wicket haul in World Cups, played a pivotal role in restricting New Zealand, despite Daryl Mitchell’s brilliant century. New Zealand’s early loss of openers was a setback, but Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra’s partnership of 159 runs rejuvenated their innings. Shami’s introduction in the final 10 overs helped India regain control.
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Fellow paceman Mohammed Siraj also contributed, taking down key wickets, including that of Devon Conway for a duck. Ravindra, who had a lifeline after being dropped by Jadeja, reached his third ODI half-century, displaying remarkable composure against the Indian spinners.
Mitchell, despite surviving some dropped catches, stood firm even as he lost partners, including the skipper Tom Latham. In conclusion, Kohli’s near-century, Shami’s exceptional bowling, and India’s resolute teamwork were the highlights of this thrilling World Cup match, positioning them as one of the tournament’s frontrunners.