DHARAMSALA, India: Virat Kohli hit 95 as India chased down its target of 274 to beat New Zealand in a match between the only two unbeaten teams at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
Tournament host India won by four wickets after reaching its target with 12 balls left in Dharamsala, finishing on 274-6.
New Zealand was dismissed for 273 in 50 overs.
Kohli came close to tying the record for most ODI hundreds, held by countryman Sachin Tendulkar with 49.
Kohli went for a six to get the record – and clinch the victory – but was caught near the boundary. He now has 69 ODI half-centuries.
It was India’s fifth straight win to open the tournament and it tops the table. New Zealand is second after its first loss.
Mohammed Shami’s splendid return of 5-54 in 10 overs undid the Black Caps’ innings and restricted it to a sub-300 score, despite Daryl Mitchell scoring 130 off 127 balls for New Zealand, including nine fours and five sixes. Mitchell put on 159 runs off 152 balls for the third wicket with Rachin Ravindra, who contributed 75 runs.
Shami triggered New Zealand’s collapse as it lost six wickets for 68 runs in the last 13 overs.
In reply, Kohli’s vital 78-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (39 not out) sealed the win for two-time champion India.
Rohit Sharma had called correctly as India won the toss and opted to bowl.
New Zealand lost Devon Conway for a nine-ball duck. He was out caught at square leg off Mohammed Siraj in the fourth over.
It made for a slow start for the Black Caps and they were down to 19-2 in 8.1 overs. Shami, playing his first game in this World Cup, bowled Will Young for 17.
Mitchell then joined Ravindra at the crease and the duo added 100 off 97 balls.
Both batsmen enjoyed lives – Jadeja had dropped Ravindra on 12 runs off Shami in the 11th over. It was a rare miss for Jadeja, usually an exceptional fielder.
Jadeja suffered further as wicketkeeper Lokesh Rahul dropped a tough nick from Mitchell in the 30th over. He was on 59 not out. Jadeja returned 0-48 in 10 overs. Meanwhile, Ravindra and Mitchell went hard on Kuldeep Yadav, hitting him for four sixes as the wrist spinner proved expensive.
New Zealand pegged back India across the middle overs before Shami provided the breakthrough in the 34th over.
Ravindra was out caught at long on and Yadav trapped Tom Latham lbw for five. After 37 overs, New Zealand was 205-4.
Mitchell brought up his first World Cup hundred – and fifth overall – off 100 balls. He held one end together as India fought back.
Yadav struck again, this time removing Glenn Phillips for 23. Mark Chapman holed out off Jasprit Bumrah for six.
Shami bowled Mitchell Santner (1) and Matt Henry (0) off successive balls as New Zealand collapsed to 260-8.
Mitchell was out caught in the final over as Shami picked up his second World Cup five-for after 5-69 against England in 2019.
In reply, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill (26) added 71 off 67 balls for the first wicket, with Sharma smacking four sixes in his 40-ball 46. He had been dropped in the third over at slip off Trent Boult (1-60).
Lockie Ferguson sent them both back in successive overs – Sharma chopped a wide delivery onto his stumps, while Gill holed out to third man.
India went from 71-0 to 76-2 in 14 deliveries as Kohli took center stage. He strung together important partnerships and rebuilt the innings.
He put on 52 for the third wicket with Shreyas Iyer (33), who holed out to square leg. Then he added another 54 for the fourth wicket with Rahul (27), who was out lbw to Santner.
Kohli reached 50 off 60 balls. In between, fog at the mountainous venue interrupted the game – a rarity for cricket but no overs were lost.
Another big moment came as Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav (2) were involved in a mix-up leading to the latter’s runout.
India was down to 191-5 in 33.5 overs.
But Kohli timed his knock to perfection, including eight fours and two sixes, as India underlined its favorite tag at the World Cup.
New Zealand has beaten England, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while India has also notched up wins over Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya was unavailable for the table-topping clash because of a left ankle injury sustained in its previous game against Bangladesh in Pune. In his place, the hosts chose Suryakumar Yadav. India also brought in pacer Mohammed Shami for bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand was unchanged from its previous win over Afghanistan in Chennai. Star batsman and skipper Kane Williamson is still unavailable because of a thumb injury, and Latham led the side again in his absence.
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