India showcased their dominance as they swept aside New Zealand to secure a spot in the World Cup final. Led by the incredible performance of Virat Kohli, who surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's record to become the most prolific white-ball batsman of all time, and Mohammed Shami, who set a historic figure for best one-day bowling figures in India's history, India cruised to a 71-run victory.
Kohli's remarkable feat of scoring 50 ODI centuries, one more than his idol Tendulkar, was a standout moment in the match. The legendary Tendulkar himself was present at the Wankhede Stadium to witness Kohli's outstanding achievement. Shami's exceptional seven for 57 bowling figures further solidified his position as the tournament's most dangerous bowler.
India's imposing total of 397 for four was fueled by a sparkling century from Shreyas Iyer in just 67 balls, outpacing Kohli's own century by 39 balls. New Zealand fought back with a resilient 134 from Daryl Mitchell and a solid partnership between Kane Williamson and Mitchell. However, Shami's exceptional bowling turned the game decisively in India's favor, dismissing both Williamson and Tom Latham in three balls.
The controversy surrounding the Mumbai pitch, with claims of late changes made by the home authorities, became insignificant as India's superiority shone through. Their exceptional performance throughout the tournament has proven that they possess the capability to claim victory on any surface. India's dominance has been so apparent that they have won all ten matches they played, leaving opponents struggling to match their level of play.
With the upcoming final against either Australia or South Africa, India has the opportunity to claim their first World Cup victory in either format since their triumph in the 50-over edition in 2011. Despite the occasional challenging moments faced against New Zealand, India's solid position in the tournament leaves them as the clear favorites.
Captain Rohit Sharma's turbocharged start, alongside Kohli's extensive contribution, has been integral to India's success. Kohli's remarkable feat, combined with Sharma's selfless play, has set a strong foundation for the Indian team. The exceptional performance by Shubman Gill, who battled cramp to contribute significantly, further demonstrated India's strength and determination.
As the adoring crowd cheered on, Kohli celebrated his century with a heartfelt moment, removing his helmet and dropping to his knees. Notably, Kohli's impressive batting was complemented by Iyer's audacious play, with his second century in just four days.
India's remarkable depth in bowling was exemplified by Shami's early dismissals of Devon Conway and Ravindra. New Zealand struggled to recover from their sluggish start and eventually fell short of the target. Shami's exceptional performance in front of an adoring crowd added to the memorable night for India.
India's dominant performance in the World Cup has made the tournament feel like a procession. With their eyes set on the final, India's path to victory seems unstoppable as they continue to showcase their exceptional skills and class.