In the riveting ICC World Cup semi-final clash against New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, Rohit Sharma, the skipper of the Indian cricket team, chose to bat first, setting the stage for a spectacular performance. Displaying a fearless approach, Sharma contributed a brisk 47 runs in 29 balls, laying the foundation for what unfolded as a historic match.
Virat Kohli, the talismanic batsman, took center stage with an awe-inspiring 117, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries in 50-over internationals. The significance of achieving this milestone in the presence of Tendulkar himself, seated alongside football legend David Beckham, added grandeur to the moment. Kohli’s acknowledgment of Tendulkar, bowing down towards the stands, resonated with the gravity of the achievement.
Teaming up with Shreyas Iyer (105) after Shubman Gill’s unfortunate retirement due to cramps, Kohli propelled India to a commanding total of 397/4. Reflecting on Kohli’s feat, former cricketer Akram expressed his disbelief, stating, “When Sachin finished with 49 tons, I thought, ‘kaun karega yaar’ pachaas sau (who will achieve 50 hundreds?). But this guy (Kohli) came, saw, and conquered.”
Despite New Zealand’s resilient effort, highlighted by Daryl Mithcell’s century (134) and a commendable 69 by skipper Kane Williamson, Mohammed Shami’s ruthless performance, securing a record-breaking 7/57, ensured India’s 70-run victory and secured their spot in the final. The match, a testament to Kohli’s prowess and India’s collective strength, will be etched in cricket history.