The Indian cricket team remains the only unbeaten side in Cricket World Cup 2023 after a dominant victory over New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday. New Zealand were off to a solid start but sensational displays by Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli meant that the Rohit Sharma-led side registered their fifth victory on the trot in the competition. India are now top of the table with 10 points and a Net Run Rate of +1.353. This was the first loss for New Zealand who are second with 8 points from 5 matches with a NRR of +1.481. South Africa are third with 6 points and they have the best NRR till now (+2.212). Australia and Pakistan are fourth and fifth respectively with four points apiece.
Virat Kohli was once again the top performer for the Indian cricket team as he missed his 49th ODI century by a whisker. Kohli was dismissed for 95 after stitching together a crucial partnership with Ravindra Jadeja. Rohit Sharma provided a perfect start to the Indian cricket team with a 40-ball-46.
Earlier, Daryl Mitchell hit a gutsy hundred before India pacer Mohammed Shami sizzled with a five-wicket haul in his first game of the Cricket World Cup 2023 to restrict New Zealand to 273 all out.
Sent into bat, Mitchell (130 off 127 balls) and Rachin Ravindra (75 off 87 balls) rescued New Zealand after a poor start, sharing 159 runs off 152 balls for the third wicket.
Shami (5/54) was the star with the ball for India while the other pacers, Jasprit Bumrah (1/45) and Mohammed Siraj (1/45), also played their part well.
India had a rare ordinary day in the field and were guilty of dropping three catches. Kuldeep Yadav (2/73) was the most expensive bowler but got the important wickets of Tom Lathan and Glenn Phillips.
The start was far from rosy for New Zealand who lost Devon Conway early. The left-hander flicked a Mohammed Siraj delivery straight to Shreyas Iyer at forward square leg in the fourth over.
Introduced into the attack in the ninth over, Shami struck with his first ball of the tournament by removing Will Young, who played on to an incoming delivery.
Regarded as one of India’s best fielders, Ravindra Jadeja dropped a sitter at point of Shami’s bowling to hand Ravindra a life.
Ravindra cashed in on the chance with both hands and together with Mitchell forged a much needed partnership to stabilise the innings.
The duo was particularly severe against Kuldeep Yadav, clobbering the left-arm spinner for three huge sixes straight over his head.
Ravindra brought up his fifty off 56 balls, while Mitchell’s half-century came in 60 deliveries.
The hallmark of the partnership between Ravindra and Mitchell was that they never went into a shell and rotated the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking. Mitchell’s straight hits over the two in-form Indian spinners’ heads were a treat to watch.
The Indians were sloppy on the field as Mitchell also got a reprieve on 69 in the 33rd over when Jasprit Bumrah dropped an easy chance at the long-off boundary.
Shami finally broke the partnership in the next over when Ravindra failed to clear the long-on boundary, handing a simple catch to Shubman Gill.
Ravindra’s wicket hardly bothered Mitchell who continued to play aggressively, smashing the Indian bowlers with disdain as New Zealand brought up their 200 in 36.1 overs.
Kuldeep, who was put under pressure for the first time in the competition, finally tasted success when he had New skipper Tom Latham LBW with a wrong one.
Glenn Phillips made 23 before he sliced a Kuldeep delivery to Rohit at point.
India pulled things back significantly by picking up six wickets in the last six overs for only 30 runs.
Shami cleaned up Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry off consecutive balls in the 48th over to get close his third five-wicket haul in ODIs.
(With PTI inputs)
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