Mohammed Shami picked seven New Zealand wickets to help India register a 70-run victory at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. Chasing the home side's 397/4, Kane Williamson's gritty New Zealand fought valiantly to the end. When it was alleged that India tried to take advantage by opting for spin-friendly track, it was a fast bowler that made the ball talk.
Daryl Mitchell made 134 from 119 balls while kipper Kane Williamson scored 69 from 73 after the Kiwi openers failed to fire. Glenn Phillips also kept last edition's runners-up going with a 33-ball 41 but failed to get their team past the line.
Mohammed Shami, who picked up a wicket with his first delivery of the game is now the leading wicket-taker of the tournament -- despite having played the least number of games among all bowlers in the top ten!
The pacer got rid of dangerous openers Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra early in the innings. But New Zealand found some wind on their sail through a 181-run stand between captain Kane Williamson (69) and centurion Daryl Mitchell.
India needed a wicket to break the momentum and Shami, in fact, gave two. He ousted Williamson and Tom Latham in successive balls in the 33rd over to hamper the Black Caps. In the process, he also completed 50 wickets in the World Cup.
Earlier, Virat Kohli scored the 50th ODI ton of his career to become the first batter ever to achieve the feat before Shreyas Iyer made it past the three-digit mark to power India to the huge total.
Kohli scaled the highest peak in ODI batting and was the centerpiece of India's domination with his third century of this World Cup, scoring 117 off 113 balls with nine fours and two sixes. Kohli (713) also became the highest run-getter in a single edition of World Cup, again surpassing the legendary Tendulkar (623 run in 2003)
India vs NZ: As it happened
Rohit went hammer and tongs from the word go to rip apart New Zealand pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
Having stroked his way to 47 with four sixes and as many boundaries, Rohit got beaten by an off-cutter from Southee that ended his assault.
For Rohit had left New Zealand gasping for breath - the usually composed Kiwis appeared to be scrambling for answers to stop the Indian skipper until Tim Southee found one.
The senior Kiwi bowler produced a smart slower delivery - an off cutter - which lured Rohit to go for another big hit. But this time, he could not connect as well as he had done earlier.
The ball went high in the air but not the distance.
Gill, who was forced to retire hurt due to severe cramps, did well to come out at the fag end and finished at 80 not out off 66 balls, hammering eight fours and three sixes in the process.
India's score was a record total for any team in history of 50-overs World Cup semifinals.
Kohli's strokes pierced the field with utmost precision, the running between the wickets was impeccable as ever and the ball seemed to have hit the meatiest part of his bat most of the times after he survived a close leg-before appeal at the start of his innings.
Shami is serving reminders of his class in each and every game since making the playing XI after being left out initially and he only made it bigger at the big stage.
When it was alleged that India tried to take advantage by opting for spin-friendly track, it was a fast bowler that made the ball talk.
New Zealand folded for 327 in 48.5 overs and India rejoiced a hard-earned memorable victory with yet another team effort, that earned them a shot at their third ODI world title.
A fearless Rohit Sharma (47 off 29) dented the confidence of New Zealand bowlers with his ultra-risk, power-packed knock that blew away the pressure of the big semifinal, leaving the stage for Kohli (117) to conjure up the knock that perched him atop a mountain from where displacing him does not seem possible for a long time to come.
Shreyas Iyer not only watched Kohli take the crown from his idol, Sachin Tendulkar (49 ODI centuries), from the best seat in the house but he himself made a huge contribution in India raising a mammoth total, albeit his knock of 105 was overshadowed due to the sheer significance of Kohli's milestone mark.
New Zealand has always been a big-match team and it fought through Mitchell and inspiring leader Kane Williamson (69) but in the end their efforts only saved them from the ignominy of losing by a bigger margin.
Rachin Ravindra (13) and Devon Conway imploded under pressure and the Kiwis did not get the kind start which is required for such targets.
- With PTI inputs