Indian batter Virat Kohli on Wednesday created history by breaking the God of Cricket Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar's record of 49th International hundred in just his 290th ODI. He scored his 100 in 106 balls.
India were batting at over seven runs an over in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Semi-final in Mumbai.
Rohit Sharma backed his own call by putting his foot on the pedal early on in the innings. He took on Trent Boult in the very first over with a couple of streaky fours. There wasn't much with Boult's lines in his opening over, but Rohit went in with the intent of taking quick runs.
This continued in the following overs, as Rohit kept going for his shots even as Shubman Gill gave him decent support. With his third six of the innings, Rohit crossed Chris Gayle as the batter with the most sixes in the history of the Cricket World Cup.
India kept going at an aggressive pace in the first 10 overs, before Rohit lofted a slower ball from Tim Southee high in the air over mid-off, where his opposite number, Kane Williamson, ran backward and took a stunning catch.
Gill found good support in Virat Kohli and the duo kept going at a brisk pace. After Rohit's fall, Gill unleashed some exquisite shots to keep the run rate going.
India had already reached 150 by the end of the 20th over. During this stand, Kohli became the third-highest run-getter in the history of ODIs. New Zealand seemed to be without answers, till Gill picked up cramps in the 23rd over and had to leave the pitch, unbeaten on 79.
However, functioning like an automaton, the India batting lineup kept churning out runs. Newcomer Shreyas Iyer was soon among the runs. He unleashed a couple of big hits against Rachin Ravindra in the 27th over. Kohli reached his half-century, a first-ever for him in a World Cup knockout game, in the same over.
The batter opened his arms with an exceptional bottom-handed lofted six against Tim Southee over the leg-side in the 30th over. During the 34th over, he reached 674 runs in this edition of the World Cup. This helped him go one better over Sachin Tendulkar's 673 at the 2003 World Cup, which was the record for the most runs in a single edition of the tournament.
The duo added 100 runs off merely 79 balls.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first in Mumbai. He believed that India would look to manage the controllable and give their best.
Both sides were unchanged ahead of the semi-final.
India’s campaign in their home Cricket World Cup has been a flawless run. Almost every player in the setup has contributed and the side has gone from strength to strength in the tournament. The top-order is firing big, and is backed up by an equally adept middle-order.
Pacers and spinners alike are bossing the conditions. It seems like Rohit’s mantra of living in the present, is working quite well for the side.
However, they are up against their bogey side, New Zealand, a team which has more often than not come out on top against the Men in Blue in ICC events. This was also true for their previous meeting at a Cricket World Cup knockout game, wherein New Zealand denied India in a nail-biting classic, with Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni’s fightback proving not quite enough to deny the Kiwis a spot in the final.
It’s been a mixed run for New Zealand in this World Cup. Rattled by injures even before the tournament started, their initial run wasn’t impacted by the chop-and-change in their personnel. However, the side lost to India in Dharamsala and then entered a rut, losing four games in a row. They overturned that with a confident win against Sri Lanka, a victory that helped them qualify for the knockout stage.
The onus is on their big stars to shine in an all-important clash against the undefeated tournament hosts.