MUMBAI: Virat Kohli scored a record-breaking 50th one-day international hundred and Shreyas Iyer scored a magnificent century of his own as India posted a commanding score of 397-4 against New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
Kohli’s innings of 117 saw him surpass the 49 hundreds he shared with Sachin Tendulkar, and his compatriot watched from the stands of the 33,000-strong crowd at the Wankhede Stadium, which included football star David Beckham.
Kohli scored 163 with Iyer scoring 105 off just 70 balls, including four fours and eight sixes.
“It feels like a dream. It’s too good to be true,” Kohli said.
India-New Zealand World Cup semi-final will be played on used pitch
“The most important thing for me is to make my team win. I’ve been given a role in this tournament and I’m trying to dig deeper.”
Tendulkar praised Kohli’s “skill and passion”.
“I couldn’t be happier that an Indian broke my record,” he wrote on his old Twitter, X.
“And to do it on the biggest stage, in the World Cup semi-final and on home soil, is the icing on the cake.”
Former India captain Kohli had earlier added 93 runs with opener Shubman Gill, who was injured in the 79th over but came back in the last over to post 80.
New Zealand’s bowlers were largely powerless to contain the attack after India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss.
Veteran pacer Tim Southee took three wickets but conceded 100 runs in 10 overs, while left-arm quick Trent Boult scored 86 in 10 innings.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner’s 0-51 in 10 innings, including his solitary haul of the innings, was quite economical in comparison.
But the day belonged to Kohli, who looks to guide two-time champions India into Sunday’s final against either Australia or South Africa, where he and Tendulkar won the 2011 World Cup.
India had won all nine pool matches until their match against New Zealand in the 2019 semi-final, which was affected by rain that spanned two days in Manchester.
There was initial controversy on Wednesday after it was revealed that the match was being played on a used pitch, not a new pitch.
Opener Rohit set the tone for the innings with a quickfire 47 before he was well caught by New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who ran back through the middle of an aerial drive from Southee.
New Zealand thought they had brought out number three Kohli for a second ball to Southee.
But review of an original no-out decision revealed an inside edge and Kohli was off the boundary line.
Former skipper Kohli completed his 59-ball fifty, including four fours, before striding out to edge Southee for six.
Two more runs from Ferguson then took Kohli to the milestone, his third in the tournament.
Kohli hit eight fours and a six in his 279th ODI innings to reach 106 balls and Tendulkar led the applause as he bowed to his childhood hero.
Trailing on 107, Kohli was eventually bowled out for 117 when he bowled Tim Southee to Devon Conway at deep square leg.
While Iyer scored his second successive hundred before leaving Boult, he occasionally blasted left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra to a couple of huge sixes.
Quick points: India 397-4 in 50 overs (V Kohli 117, S Iyer 105, S Gill 80 no; T Southee 3-100) v New Zealand
news source (www.brecorder.com)