India tops the table after a thrilling win over New Zealand
India tops the table after a thrilling win over New Zealand. India maintained their unbeaten run in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 with a four-wicket victory over New Zealand in a nail-biting encounter at Dharamsala on Saturday. Chasing 274 for a win, India were in trouble at 191 for 6, but captain Virat Kohli and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja steered them home with an unbroken 83-run stand. Kohli fell for 95 in the penultimate over, but Jadeja finished the job with a boundary off Matt Henry.
Kohli’s innings was a masterclass of composure and skill, as he held the chase together after India lost their openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill inside the first 10 overs. He added 46 with KL Rahul for the third wicket, and 41 with Suryakumar Yadav for the fourth, before New Zealand struck back with three quick wickets. Mitchell Santner removed Rahul and Yadav in the same over, while Lockie Ferguson dismissed Rishabh Pant with a searing yorker.
At that stage, India needed more than six runs per over, with only four wickets in hand. But Kohli and Jadeja showed their experience and class, rotating the strike and finding the gaps with ease. They also punished the loose deliveries, with Kohli hitting nine fours and a six, and Jadeja smashing four fours and two sixes. Kohli looked set to complete his 44th ODI hundred, but he holed out to midwicket off Trent Boult in a bid to finish the game with a six. Jadeja, however, kept his cool and hit the winning runs with 12 balls to spare.
Earlier, New Zealand posted a competitive total of 273, thanks to a brilliant century from Daryl Mitchell and a half-century from Rachin Ravindra. The duo put on 159 for the third wicket, after India’s pacers had reduced New Zealand to 19 for 2. Mitchell, batting at No. 4, scored 130 off 127 balls, his second ODI hundred, while Ravindra made 75 off 88 balls, his maiden ODI fifty.
However, India’s bowlers fought back in the death overs, with Mohammed Shami leading the way with a five-wicket haul. Shami, playing his first game of the tournament, bowled with pace and accuracy, and picked up the crucial wickets of Mitchell, Ravindra, Tom Latham, Kyle Jamieson and Boult. He finished with figures of 5 for 54, his second five-for in World Cups. Kuldeep Yadav also chipped in with two wickets, while Jasprit Bumrah and Jadeja took one each.
Shami was named the Player of the Match for his outstanding performance. He said he was happy to contribute to the team’s win, and praised Kohli and Jadeja for their partnership.
“It feels great to get five wickets in a World Cup game, and help the team win. It was a tough wicket to bowl on, but I stuck to my plans and executed them well. I think Kohli and Jadeja batted brilliantly, and showed why they are world-class players. They took the pressure off us, and finished the game in style,” Shami said.
With this win, India moved to the top of the points table, with 10 points from five games. They have already qualified for the semi-finals, and will face Australia in their next game on October 26. New Zealand, on the other hand, slipped to the fourth spot, with six points from six games. They will need to win their remaining two games, against Pakistan and Afghanistan, to secure their place in the last four.