India 397 for 4 (Kohli 117, Iyer 105, Gill 80*, Southee 3-100) won New Zealand 327 (Mitchell 134, Williamson 69, Shami 7-57), a difference of 70 runs.
New Zealand were not to give India the nervous moments they faced in defending 397 but India eventually made fun of the supposed knockout pressure as they reached the final, now one step away from the most dominant campaign in the World Cup. The average margin of victory for them now is 175 runs, 6.4 wickets and 64.4 balls to spare. Australia’s victory in 2007 was 147.67 runs, eight wickets and 89.2 balls to spare.
You can’t begrudge India any of the breaks they had with the circumstances: this was only the second toss they had won in nine limited-overs World Cup knockout matches since their Mohali semi-final against Pakistan in 2011. This was cancelled. The advantage is a bit because it means marginally more help for the slower bowlers during the afternoon and marginally less help for the fast bowlers under the lights.
However, Rohit converted this marginal advantage into a decent start even before the spectators settled down. He already has the most runs, highest strike rate, highest average, most sixes and most fours in power plays in this World Cup. In a semi-final on a slow pitch, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to have a number of spectators, but he started to come forward in the first half, curling a brilliantly long ball over the halfway line in order to create his own momentum into the goal. shot.
As early as the third over, Trent Boult was around the wicket, indicating a lack of movement for the fast bowlers. For Boult’s first ball from that angle, Rohit danced down the wicket and soared through mid-on in his first six. He would add three more in his short innings to surpass Chris Gayle’s record of most six World Cup matches and most in a single World Cup: 49 and 26.
India’s top five teams now average more than any other side in a single World Cup, but it is by sticking to their roles that they have been most impressive. Rohit’s mission was to maximize; The build-up can be left to Shuman Gill and Kohli. Rohit’s personal score does not matter. He was down at 47 trying to score a sixth but was undone by a slower ball from Tim Southee.
Twelve years after Kohli carried Tendulkar on his shoulders to thank him for carrying the team, Gill, Kohli’s heir apparent, took on the role of the aggressor to allow time for Kohli to get down to business. Now these are just relative terms because 29 off 39 is not a bad start to see how Kohli can accelerate, but at the same time Gill added 59 off 45. However, as the century passed, Gill retired in pain from what looked like cramps, most likely not even His participation in the final was put in jeopardy.
But for New Zealand, this retirement was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Iyer batted furiously and touched, dropping Rasheen Ravindra after just six overs. Now in the second half of the innings, Kohli has also started strengthening his intent. Gone after the quick return, Bolt and Southey. Eyre made sure they had to take the part-time staff out of the attack.
The only reason Iyer did not have the fastest World Cup century for India was because of the first bowled by Mitchell Santner in the 35th over. Santner was the only bowler to hold his own, hitting just 51 off his 10 overs.
India got out 110 off the last 10 overs with KL Rahul providing 39 off 20 overs. You would not have guessed at that stage that India would need so many innings, which makes all the starts from Rohit and the intent insisted on by the new team management all the more important.
These extra runs provide a cushion if the bowlers have half a day off. Jasprit Bumrah had that start that proved he was human: 22 runs in three overs, a big show, and a run of five overs. But the Levantine first change emerged as a nightmare for speculators. Immediately around the wicket, he played the two left-handed openers, biting them just enough to catch them at the wicket in his first two overs.
However, Shami came back with a double: a slower ball to catch Williamson at deep square leg, and an absolute peach to seam and hit the second ball to Tom Latham. With Glenn Phillips on board, India could have returned to making spinners and added to the demand price pressures. The score went beyond 12 in the 37th minute, and with Mitchell cramping and India cleverly keeping the ball out of his reach, it was a losing battle for New Zealand.
Shami came back to take three deserved wickets in the final over, becoming the fastest World Cup finalist to reach 50 wickets, taking the most five-wickets and also recording India’s best figures in the tournament.
Siddharth Monga is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo