Mumbai: The Indian cricket team has secured its place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final by defeating New Zealand by 70 runs in the first semi-final played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. India, led by Rohit Sharma, continued its unbeaten run in the tournament by winning its 10th consecutive match and also avenged its loss to the Kiwis in the 2019 World Cup semi-final. India will now face the winner of the second semi-final between South Africa and Australia, which will be played on 17 November in Delhi. The final will be played on 19 November in Ahmedabad. India has previously reached the final of the World Cup in 1983 and 2011 and won the trophy on both occasions.
India posted a mammoth total of 397 for 4 in 50 overs, thanks to the brilliant batting performances of Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and Shubman Gill. Kohli scored his 50th ODI century and became the first batsman in history to achieve this feat. He also broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record of scoring the most runs in a single World Cup season. Kohli remained unbeaten on 117 off 113 balls and was cheered by Tendulkar himself, who was present in the stadium as a special guest. Iyer scored his second consecutive century and his fourth in the World Cup, smashing 121 off 89 balls. Gill played a solid knock of 80 not out off 65 balls and shared an unbroken 150-run partnership with Kohli for the fifth wicket. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul also contributed with 47 and 39 runs respectively.
New Zealand’s chase never got going, as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 327 in 48.5 overs. Daryl Mitchell was the lone fighter for the Kiwis, scoring 134 off 109 balls, his maiden ODI hundred. Captain Kane Williamson also scored a fluent 69 off 62 balls, but could not convert it into a big score. The rest of the New Zealand batsmen failed to cope with the pressure of the huge target and the Indian bowling attack. Mohammed Shami was the star of the show for India, taking 7 wickets for 68 runs, his best figures in ODIs. He was well supported by Jasprit Bumrah, who took 2 wickets for 55 runs, and Ravindra Jadeja, who took 1 wicket for 49 runs.
India’s victory was celebrated by the fans and the cricket fraternity, who hailed the team’s performance and Kohli’s milestone. Tendulkar praised Kohli on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) and said that he was proud of him and his achievement. He also congratulated the Indian team for reaching the final and wished them luck in the title clash. Kohli thanked Tendulkar for his kind words and said that he was honored to break his record in front of him. He also dedicated his century to Tendulkar and the Indian fans, who have supported him throughout his career.