By Utkarsha Gandhe and Kaustav Laskar
In the pulsating semi-final clash between India and New Zealand, Mohammed Shami made history by taking a remarkable seven-wickets haul - the most by any Indian bowler in a World Cup match and also to register 50 ODI World Cup wickets. He also took his wicket tally in the tournament to 23 in just 6 innings, breaking the record of legendary Indian left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan, who took 21 wickets in 11 innings in the 2011 edition. Shami's stellar performance was the cornerstone of India's emphatic victory as they beat New Zealand by 70 runs at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
At the helm of the team, Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first, with him and fellow opener Shubman Gill setting the stage for a high-stakes rematch of the World Cup 2019 semi-final, in which the Men in Blue lost to the Kiwis by 18 runs, before getting out and retiring hurt respectively. The memories of that heartbreak lingered, but it was a different narrative this time. The team showed resilience and dominance, determined to rewrite history.
India's decision to bat first proved to be a masterstroke as centuries from Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer propelled the team to an impressive total of 397/5 in the first innings. Kohli, in a significant achievement, scored his 50th ODI century and surpassed his cricketing idol, Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian batsman showed his prowess and the Kiwi bowlers faced a formidable challenge. Known for their functional performance throughout the tournament, the Kiwi bowlers faced an uphill battle against a ruthless Indian batting line-up. Despite their efforts, the bowling attack faltered, unable to sustain the onslaught unleashed by Kohli, Iyer and the rest of the Indian batsmen.
The second innings started off pretty well with the New Zealand openers putting quite good on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until Mohammed Shami's first two overs when he got rid of both the openers. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell stepped up for their team and scored a solid 181 runs partnership for the third wicket but soon, it came to an end as well after Shami was called in action and he successfully managed to send Williamson back to the pavilion after a well-played 69 runs off 73 balls. Although a century was scored by Mitchell, it did not really help them as they were still 70 runs short at the end of the game.With this win, India have now secured an impressive 10th straight win under Rohit Sharma and Co. The team's relentless pursuit of excellence has taken them to the finals of the World Cup, scheduled to be held at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, November 19. While the cricketing fraternity applauds India's remarkable performance, fans eagerly await the final showdown where India will face the winner of the second semi-final. The path to the world cup trophy is becoming clearer for Rohit Sharma's side, who are all set to leave an indelible mark in cricket history.