Dharamshala: Playing in his first match of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup, fast-bowler Mohammed Shami spearheaded an Indian fightback in the last ten overs to pick a superb 5-54, while Virat Kohli slammed a brilliant 95 off 104 balls to help India top the points table with a four-wicket win over New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium on Sunday.
At the picturesque venue, the superb efforts of Shami and Kohli helped India to get out of situations that kept them under the pump in both innings. In the first essay, a 159-run stand between Daryl Mitchell (130 off 127 balls) and Rachin Ravindra (75 off 87 balls) rescued New Zealand from 19/2 on a two-paced pitch.
But New Zealand failed to get the acceleration they were looking for, as their last six wickets fell in the final 10 overs for 54 runs, four of which were taken by Shami, who was effective with his fuller and yorker deliveries. He also became the first Indian bowler to take two five-wicket hauls in the Men’s ODI World Cup as New Zealand were bowled out for 273 by India, who were playing without an injured Hardik Pandya.
In reply, all of India’s batters got starts, but Kohli dropped anchor and steered the run-chase to usual perfection, hitting eight fours and two sixes in the process. He also ran hard to pick 43 singles and four twos as India chased down 274 with two overs to spare and maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament. India getting scored their first win over New Zealand in the World Cup after 20 years.
After skipper Rohit Sharma elected to bowl first, Mohammed Siraj struck by enticing Devon Conway to flick straight to square leg moving to his right to take a very sharp catch. The pressure built by the Indian bowlers, despite burning an lbw review against Ravindra off Jasprit Bumrah, yielded another Power-play wicket when Will Young chopped onto his stumps on Shami’s first ball of the match.
Ravindra had luck on his side when he used a review to overturn a caught-behind decision and three balls later, Ravindra Jadeja dropped his catch on 12. The duo hit some crisp boundaries, before upping their rearguard act against Kuldeep.
With the ball not providing much turn, Ravindra merrily danced down the pitch to hit a six over the bowler’s head, before Mitchell smacked two big maximums off Kuldeep in the same fashion – a bowler against whom he took 43 runs off 28 balls.
After reaching their respective fifties, Mitchell stepped out to hit Jadeja for six, before taking a six and four off Kuldeep, the second of which saw Bumrah dropping a sitter at long-off. India finally managed to break the partnership when Ravindra picked out the man at long-off Shami.
But Mitchell, using his long levers to good effect, lofted and clipped Bumrah for two fours before employing paddle-sweep against Kuldeep for another boundary. Kuldeep, though, bounced back by trapping Tom Latham lbw. Though Mitchell got his fifth ODI hundred, he slowed down as India continued to pull things back.
Glenn Phillips mistimed a slog to cover off Kuldeep, while Mark Chapman fell in a bid to go big against Bumrah, as Kohli dived forward to complete a low catch. Shami came in the 48th over to castle Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry on successive deliveries.
Though Mitchell smacked him for six and four in the final over, Shami had him caught at deep mid-wicket, followed by Lockie Ferguson’s run-out on the last ball as New Zealand used up its full quota of overs.
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.
With Boult not getting much swing, 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 reaching in 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 by having Rohit chop onto his stumps and 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 his cover drive and glance to pick boundaries against Ferguson.
Boult got Iyer’s wicket when he cramped the batter on the short ball and the top edge on the 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 plus 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.