India opener Shubman Gill said he had been inspired by the “hunger” of Virat Kohli after the two batters starred in the 70-run ICC Men’s ODI World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand on Wednesday.
The unbeaten tournament hosts piled up 397/4 with Kohli compiling a record-breaking 50th one-day international hundred during an innings of 117 as he surpassed the mark of 49 centuries he had shared with retired India great Sachin Tendulkar.
Shreyas Iyer piled on the agony for New Zealand with a rapid 105 and Gill, who finished on 80 not out, might have had a hundred as well if he had not earlier retired hurt at the Wankhede Stadium.
Gill, however, was in the middle with Kohli while they added 93 for the second wicket after India captain Rohit Sharma launched the innings with a typically quickfire 47.
“Every time he comes on to the park, he does something special and just how consistently he’s been able to do it for the past 10-15 years is what is really inspiring,” said Gill of Kohli.
“It’s not so much about the skill that he has, but it’s more about the hunger when he goes there and the intensity with which he plays the game is what inspires me.
“To be able to have that consistently for as long as he’s been doing it is what really inspires me.”
Kohli ‘the best and getting better’ – Kane Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson hailed record-breaking Virat Kohli as “the best” batter in the world and warned India’s rivals that the superstar is “getting better.”
India, who Williamson described as a “blue machine”, defeated his side by 70 runs in Mumbai on Wednesday to reach the World Cup final.
A world-class batter in his own right, Williamson paid tribute to Kohli saying: “That’s something quite special, I think if you play 50 games, some people would call that a great career.”
“But to get 50 hundreds...and not just that, actually the way he goes about it, it’s actually about winning games for his team.”
The 33-year-old added: “I mean he’s the best, isn’t he? And he seems to be getting better, which is a worry for the opposition all around the world.”
Mohammad Shami struck throughout the innings on his way to returning the best figures by any bowler in a World Cup semi-final and, importantly ended a threatening third-wicket stand of 181 between Daryl Mitchell (134) and Williamson (69) when the Black Caps skipper was caught at deep square leg.
“That blue machine keeps rolling and they were too good for us today...They thoroughly deserve their win,” said Williamson.
Shami’s return took him to the top of the tournament bowling charts with 23 wickets even though the paceman missed the first four games before an injury to all-rounder Hardik Pandya led to a recall.
“He (Shami) has been incredible,” said Williamson. “He’s coming on first change, behind two outstanding new ball bowlers (Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj).
“He’s without a doubt one of the top operators in the world and the way he moves the ball and he keeps bringing the stumps into play.
“It’s been quite phenomenal really, the amount of wickets he’s gotten in such a small amount of games in this tournament.”
MIndia, unbeaten in 10 games at the tournament, will now face either Australia or South Africa in Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad.
“They’re the best team in the world and they’re all playing their best cricket,” said Williamson.
He added: “The way they’ve played throughout this tournament has been incredible. They haven’t missed a beat...I’ve got no doubt they’ll go into that next match full of confidence.”