IND vs NZ: Shami fifer, Kohli 95 help India maintain unbeaten streak in ICC World Cup 2023

The Men in Blue coasted home with a four-wicket victory, having finished with 274 for six in 48 overs in a key World Cup game at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Sunday.

Published : Oct 22, 2023 22:53 IST , Dharamsala - 3 MINS READ

Like the endearing warmth of the fireplace in a cold Himalayan cottage, India too found its comfort zone up in the hills. Virat Kohli (95, 104b, 8x4, 2x6) played the shepherd, guiding his flock and chasing New Zealand’s 273.

The Men in Blue coasted home with a four-wicket victory, having finished with 274 for six in 48 overs in a key World Cup game at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Sunday.

The pursuit shimmered brightly in the beginning as skipper Rohit Sharma whipped and lofted Trent Boult and hoisted and scooped Matt Henry. Shubman Gill, meanwhile, drove with elan, and India moved to 63 for no loss in 10 overs. A false note occurred when Rohit (46) chopped Lockie Ferguson onto his stumps.

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Next man Kohli punched Ferguson for four, but Gill failed to get past the waiting third-man fielder. The clouds then descended and the cricketers admired nature’s tapestry. Despite the mist, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer got some runs, but when visibility declined, a short break was imposed.

On resumption, Shreyas succumbed to Boult. Kohli watched KL Rahul tuck into Rachin Ravindra’s spin. The last-named then felt the heat of Kohli’s blade; an inside-out lofted strike flew into the skies, and when Henry steamed in, he was drilled away with disdain.

Mitchell Santner prised out Rahul, and the worry lines popped up once Suryakumar Yadav got run-out. India was delicately placed at 191 for five, but Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja ensured that there were no further alarms. A garland of muscular hits against Boult found Kohli nearly galloping towards his ton before he fell at the last stretch, but by then he had left India on the cusp of a special triumph.

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In the afternoon, as vehicles crawled up narrow hill roads and boisterous fans disembarked in their blue shade, Rohit won the toss and elected to field. India stepped in with two changes, as Mohammed Shami and Suryakumar replaced Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur.

Devon Conway, watchful against Jasprit Bumrah, flicked Mohammed Siraj to a diving Shreyas. With Conway dismissed for nought and Shami’s first ball in the current World Cup forcing Will Young to drag one onto his stumps, New Zealand needed an alliance.

The situation could have become worse, but in a rare episode of Ravindra dropping Ravindra, Jadeja grassed Rachin when the latter was on 12 while Shami rued his bad luck. A partnership emerged between Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell, with the highlight being their massive sixes off Kuldeep Yadav. The pair survived vociferous appeals and bonded for more than 20 overs.

Mitchell had his lucky break on 69, with Bumrah dropping him off an aggrieved Kuldeep. The 159-run third-wicket alliance concluded when Rachin (75) holed out in the deep off Shami. Kuldeep then trapped New Zealand skipper Tom Latham while Mitchell cruised towards his hundred.

The centurion watched fickle companions leave as Shami clattered stumps. Mitchell (130, 127b, 9x4, 5x6) became Shami’s fifth victim (five for 54) as India kept the visitor under 300. It proved within reach as Kohli played the lead star.

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