Team India registered a solid 70-run win in the first semi-final of the 2023 World Cup on Sunday, thus entering the tournament’s final for the fourth time in its history. Posting a mammoth score of 397/4 – thanks to brilliant centuries from Virat Kohli (117) and Shreyas Iyer (105) – India bowled the Kiwis out on 327 after suppressing a fightback from centurion Daryl Mitchell (134) and captain Kane Williamson (64). With the win, India kept their unbeaten record intact at the ongoing edition – this was India’s 10th successive win in the tournament.
The side had a positive approach as captain Rohit Sharma opted to bat, reinstating that the demons of 2019 had no haunting affect as they took the field. India had faced an 18-run loss in the semi-finals to New Zealand four years ago, enduring a top-order collapse that left them reeling at 5/3 in the run-chase. This time, however, Rohit took on the Kiwi pace attack with disdain, scoring a brute 47 off 29 deliveries and following his dismissal, Shubman Gill launched an offensive with the bat.
Alongside Kohli, Gill looked in supreme touch as he smashed 8 fours and three sixes en route to his 79, but his innings was cut short with cramps under humid conditions in Mumbai. The team management decided to call Gill back, and the batter only returned to the crease during the final over, adding another run to his name. In the post-match press conference, Gill revealed that he had pulled his hamstring and that the early cramps were an “after effects” of the dengue infection that he suffered last month.
“It started with cramps and I pulled my hamstring. It was humid out there and also after effects of dengue. I will be okay for finals,” Gill said.
“I have not really adjusted anything in terms of my batting. Because I’ve lost a bit of muscle mass, the reserve that I had before dengue, it has decreased. You do get cramps while playing for long in such humid conditions, but generally, that happens after a long period of time, not so soon. I’ve lost muscle mass due to which that reserve has gone down,” he further stated.
Mumbai has remained a notorious ground for batters throughout this World Cup; last month, Heinrich Klaasen battled incessant cramping en route to his 61-ball century in the South Africa’s match against England at the venue. Last week, Glenn Maxwell faced excruciating pains and could barely move, but still steered Australia to famous 3-wicket win against Afghanistan, smashing an unbeaten 201 in a 282-run chase. Even Kohli, regarded as among the fittest cricketers in modern-day cricket, suffered from cramps during the later stages of his innings on Wednesday.
India will now await their opponents in the final as the second semi-final takes place on Thursday, with South Africa set to face Australia at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.