Virat Kohli scored a record-breaking 50th One-Day International century before Mohammed Shami took a sensational seven wicket-haul as India sealed a place in the 2023 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup final with a 70-run win over New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Kohli made 117, to surpass the ODI century record he had shared with India great Sachin Tendulkar, and Shreyas Iyer a rapid 105 in a commanding total of 397/4 that also featured Shubman Gill’s 80 not out.
New Zealand were left needing to break their own record for the highest total by a team batting second to win a World Cup semi-final º a Duckworth/Lewis adjusted 299/6 against South Africa at Auckland in 2015.
But in-form paceman Shami took a career-best 7/57 as New Zealand, the losing finalists at the last two World Cups, were dismissed for 327 despite Daryl Mitchell’s 134, his highest score at this level.
India, who’ve won all 10 of their matches at the tournament so far as they bid for a third World Cup title and second on home soil, will face either Australia or South Africa, who play on Thursday, in Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad.
“I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball,” said Shami. “I dropped a catch off Kane Williamson, I shouldn’t have. I felt terrible.”
He added: “The last two World Cups, we lost in the semis. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so this was one chance we didn’t want to let go.”
First-change Shami struck twice early on, taking a wicket with his first ball, to leave New Zealand 39/2.
But the Black Caps then enjoyed a revival during a third-wicket partnership of 181 between captain Williamson and Mitchell.
Shami, however, all but ended the chase with two wickets in three balls during the 33rd over.
Williamson fell for 69 when he flicked Shami – who had dropped him on 52 – straight to Suryakumar Yadav at deep square leg.
And 220/3 became 220/4 when Shami had Tom Latham lbw for a duck.
“Daryl Mitchell and Kane Wiliamson batted brilliantly,” said India captain Rohit Sharma, who made a dashing 47 at the top of the order.
“We knew we had to pull something from up our sleeves. A bit of magic...We tried everything and Mohammed Shami was brilliant.”
Mitchell’s fine effort ended in when he whipped Shami to Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket before the paceman finished the match when last man Lockie Ferguson was caught behind.
“Congratulations to India,” said Williamson. “They’re a top side at the top of their game...But credit to the guys. I’m proud of the effort to stay in the fight.”
Kohli’s innings saw him surpass the mark of 49 hundreds he had shared with Tendulkar as his compatriot looked on from the Wankhede Stadium stands in a capacity 33,000 crowd featuring football star David Beckham.
Kohli put on 163 with Iyer, who made 105 off just 70 balls, including four fours and eight sixes.
“It feels like a dream. Too good to be true,” said Kohli at the innings break.
Tendulkar hailed Kohli’s “skill and passion”.
“I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record,” wrote Tendulkar, a team-mate of Kohli when India beat Sri Lanka in the 2011 final at the Wankhede, on X, formerly Twitter.
There was controversy at the start on Wednesday following revelations the match was being played on a used, rather than fresh, pitch.
New Zealand thought they had Kohli out for a second-ball duck, lbw to Southee, but their review revealed an inside edge.
An unflustered Kohli completed his third of the tournament, as chants of “Kohli, Kohli” rang round the ground with a two off Ferguson, having faced 106 balls, hitting eight fours and a six.
Tendulkar led the applause as Kohli bowed towards his childhood hero.
Dropped on 107, Kohli was eventually out when he pulled Southee low to deep square leg and the dynamic Iyer’s second successive hundred ended after he holed out off Trent Boult.
Shami, who took his previous best of 5/18 under the Wankhede lights when Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 55 in pool play, had immediate success on Wednesday.
Devon Conway could only edge his late-moving first ball, although it still needed wicketkeeper KL Rahul to hold a brilliant diving catch.
Conway’s fellow left-handed opener Rachin Ravindra, the tournament’s breakout star with three hundreds in his first World Cup, was also caught behind off Shami for 13.