India overcome stubborn New Zealand to reach Cricket World Cup final

India's Mohammed Shami celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Tom Latham during their Cricket World Cup semi-final

India's Mohammed Shami celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Tom Latham during their Cricket World Cup semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP

Published Nov 15, 2023


Sometimes Goliath does actually emerge victorious. And with it India’s quest for a successive home Cricket World Cup title remained intact at a spectacular Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday evening.

New Zealand have almost perfected the art of being David. The underdog that over achieves on the biggest stage.

But their spoilsport act, especially hauled out when they face the juggernaut India team, was left in the locker room in this pulsating World Cup semi-final.

It allowed India to exact revenge for their defeat four years earlier at the same stage to the Black Caps in Manchester, which in turn also denied Kane Williamson’s team a third consecutive World Cup final appearance.

It is not often that David Beckham gets upstaged. But the Wankhede Stadium was Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli’s playground on Wednesday with “Goldenballs” joining the rest of the 33 000 fanatical sea of blue in the stands to applaud Team India’s two superstars.

Shami was relentless with the ball — in the same manner he’s been throughout this tournament — with a fourth five-wicket World Cup haul as he finished with the spectacular figures of 7/57.

They were not cheap tailend wickets either with the irrepressible Shami dismissing the entire top five of New Zealand. They were all telling breakthroughs too as he firstly removed both openers Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra in his opening spell after a promising start by the Black Caps in pursuit of a massive 397/4.

And when Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell had silenced the masses with a potential match-turning partnership of 181 off only 149 balls, India captain Rohit Sharma turned to his strike-bowler once again for the breakthrough.

Shami duly responded with Williamson, who had survived two earlier chances, succumbing in the deep for 69, which he followed up with Tom Latham’s scalp two balls later.

But the coup de grace was Mitchell’s wicket, who by then was playing a lone hand in bid to haul this semi-final out of the furnace. Shami was not to be denied and closed out the match as a contest when Mitchell departed for a brilliant 134 off 119 balls (9x4, 7x6).

For all Mitchell’s fight and courage, it was only forced upon him due to the brilliance of Kohli.

The bigger the stage, the bigger the performance, and Kohli certainly did not disappoint the thousands inside the Wankhede and billions around the country that were lapping up every single run.

Ultimately, there were 117 runs to applaud, as Kohli along with Shreyas Iyer’s 105, paved the path for India’s massive total that set up the eventual 70-run victory.

India now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between South Africa and Australia in Kolkata ahead of the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday.


India: 397/4 (Kohli 117, Iyer 105, Gill 80, Southee 3/100)

New Zealand: 324 all out (Mitchell 134, Williamson 69, Shami 7/57)

India won by 70 runs

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