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Kohli hits 95 as unbeaten India down New Zealand at World Cup

India's Virat Kohli watches the ball after playing a shot during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international match between India and New Zealand at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on 22 October 2023. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

Virat Kohli hit 95 to lead India to a four-wicket victory over New Zealand and a fifth win in five matches at the World Cup on Sunday although the superstar batsman just missed equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 one-day international centuries.

Fast bowler Mohammed Shami returned figures of 5-54 to help bowl out New Zealand for 273, a total India overhauled with 12 balls to spare in Dharamsala.

The Kiwis, who rode on Daryl Mitchell’s 130 to post 273, suffered their first loss in five matches and are second behind leaders India in the 10-team table.

India, who lost to New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 edition, ended a 20-year wait for a win against the Kiwis in an ICC event after they last beat them in the 2003 World Cup.

An in-form Kohli, who hit 103 not out in the previous victory over Bangladesh, put on key partnerships including a 78-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja, who hit the winning four in his unbeaten 39.

“He (Kohli) has done this for us so many years. He backed himself to do the job,” India captain Rohit Sharma said of his star batsman after the win.

“Kohli and Jadeja pulled us back when we lost a few wickets in the middle.”

Kohli fell to Matt Henry in an attempt for the glory shot which would have given him another century. He leads the tournament batting charts with 340 runs.

Rohit (46) and Shubman Gill (26) provided a strong start in a stand of 71 before fast bowler Lockie Ferguson struck in his first two overs to remove the openers.

Kohli and Shreyas Iyer, who made 33, attempted to rebuild and did a good job despite fog descending from over the Himalayas and halting play for about 10 minutes.

Left-arm quick Trent Boult sent back Iyer in his second spell, coming around the wicket with a bouncer and having the batsman caught out in the deep.

Kohli and KL Rahul, who made 27, then ploughed on before left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner broke through and had Rahul trapped lbw.

Suryakumar Yadav was run out for two in his maiden World Cup appearance after a mix-up with Kohli and New Zealand sensed a turnaround.

But Kohli kept his calm and along with the left-handed Jadeja saw the team home.

Shami stars

Shami, who returned to the XI, set up victory with his second five-wicket haul in World Cups after he helped restrict New Zealand despite Mitchell’s fifth ODI ton.

“Got a lot of confidence after taking a wicket on the first ball,” Shami said after being named man of the match.

“It was important to pick those late wickets, you always want your team to be the top side. Very happy that I got those wickets and India is on top of the table.”

New Zealand lost their openers early after being invited to bat first but Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra (75) put on 159 to get the innings back on track.

Shami helped India pull things back in the final 10 overs in his first appearance at the tournament as New Zealand lost their eight wickets for 95 runs.

Fellow paceman Mohammed Siraj and Shami took down Devon Conway, for a duck, and Will Young, for 17, as New Zealand slipped to 19-2.

Ravindra, who was dropped on 12 by Jadeja off Shami, made the most of the reprieve to reach his third fifty in his 17th ODI.

Both Ravindra and Mitchell tackled the Indian spinners with aplomb by using their feet to perfection and Jadeja went wicketless in his 10 overs.

Mitchell, who survived dropped catches on 59 and 69, stood firm despite losing Ravindra and then skipper Tom Latham for five off Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist spinner who took two wickets.

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