Indian star batter Virat Kohli hit a record 50th century for India, and fast bowler Mohammed Shami’s seven-wicket haul was equally important as the unbeaten hosts defeated New Zealand by 70 runs in a high-scoring match on Wednesday to advance to the World Cup final. Kohli’s 117 and Shreyas Iyer’s searing 105 helped India amass 397 for four wickets after winning the toss at Wankhede Stadium, where the hosts had lifted their second and last 50-over World Cup trophy in 2011.
In response, New Zealand, who defeated India at a similar stage of the 2019 competition, were bowled out for 327 in the 49th over, with Daryl Mitchell’s brilliant 134-run innings being in vain. Arch-rivals in the ICC knockout games, Australia and South Africa face off in the second semi-final on Thursday in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, with the summit clash to be played on November 19, Sunday in Ahmedabad.
Kohli’s 117-run knock-off 113 balls broke the record for the most century in the game’s 50-over format, passing Sachin Tendulkar, who was present in the grandstand to applaud. Kohli removed his helmet and bowed to the fans, where television cameras showed Tendulkar and former England soccer captain David Beckham standing and applauding.
Shreyas Iyer’s scorching 105 off 70 balls, which included four fours and eight sixes, provided the late pyrotechnics for India’s innings. India captain Rohit Sharma, who scored 47, won the toss and chose to bat, and his 71-run opening pair with Shubman Gill got the hosts off to a flying start. Shami’s reputation grows as he becomes the first Indian to pick seven wickets in an innings, the only bowler from India to reach 50 World Cup wickets, and the first overall to record four five-wicket hauls in World Cups.