Men’s ODI WC: Kohli blasts 50th ton; Iyer second in a row as India reach 397/4 against New Zealand


Kohli, who had joined Sachin Tendulkar on 49 centuries in the match against South Africa around 10 days back, scored his 50th hundred with the Little Maestro watching and applauding from the stands. Kohli thus took his total for this World Cup to 711 runs in 10 innings at an average of 101.57.

With the slow and dry pitch looking conducive to batting, the Indian batters made most of their chances after Rohit Sharma had elected to bat first.

Iyer took the cake by scoring a second century in a row, blasting eight sixes in his 70-ball 105 as India set New Zealand 398 to chase on a strip that is expected to help the spinners in the second innings.

Opting to bat first, Rohit Sharma started in whirlwind fashion as he has done so far in this World Cup.

He took the attack to the New Zealand pacers — Trent Boult and Tim Southee, as he hammered four boundaries and four maximums in his 29-ball 47.

He started by hitting Boult for a four in the first over and also scored his first six off the same bowler, lofting Boult over the extra-cover boundary for his first six of the day in the third over. He handed Southee the same treatment, flicking a ball landing on the good length for a six in the fourth over.

The 36-year-old Mumbai batter hammered two more sixes in his 29-ball 47 — reaching 50 sixes in World Cups, going past West Indies legend Chris Gayle’s tally for most sixes in World Cup.

Rohit and Gill raised 71 runs for the opening wicket partnership in 50 balls before the Indian captain was out, holing out to his counterpart Kane Williamson, who picked up a brilliant catch running back to mid-off as Southee foxes Rohit with a slower one that dipped a bit. A hook over long on for a six off a short one by Boult and a superb sweep off Mitchell Santner were the best of his shots on Wednesday.

Gill took up the mantle of scoring, hitting seven superb boundaries — a couple of pulls off Lockie Ferguson catching attention as the young opener raced to his third half-century in his last four innings.

Gill struck Ferguson for two fours in the 10th over and then treated himself to a four and a six off successive balls off the same bowler in the 13th over. Five overs later, he gave the charge and launched Santner over the sightscreen into the window of the Indian dressing room and then followed it up with a late-cut off backfoot when the bowler dropped short off the next delivery.

Gill and Virat Kohli raised 93 runs for the second wicket before the opener walked off to the pavilion with 79 off 65 balls, and retired hurt because of severe cramps. He had some treatment from the physio before the start of the 23rd over but decided to walk off eventually, India were 164/1 at that juncture.

Shreyas Iyer joined Kohli in the middle but the rate of scoring did not drop as they added 50 more runs to the second-wicket partnership as India raced past the 200-run mark off 169 deliveries.

Kohli, who survived a close DRS review for lbw off Southee in the 9th over as Snicko showed a small spike as the ball went past the bat, played as he has done throughout this World Cup, starting cautiously and punishing the bad balls. He completed his fifty off 59 balls, hitting four boundaries.

He continued in the same vein as he marched to his 50th century off 106 balls, hitting eight boundaries and one six to edge past Sachin Tendulkar to become the batter to score most centuries in One-Day Internationals. He reached the landmark with a double off Ferguson in the 42nd over.

With Tendulkar applauding from the stands, Kohli ran halfway through the boundary, leapt into the air and then sunk onto his knees, acknowledging the wild cheers and clapping from the dressing room.

Kohli, who struck a boundary off Ferguson soon after reaching the hundred, got a life when Glenn Phillips dropped a catch at deep midwicket off Southee when on 107. He rubbed salt into the wound by hoicking it over Phillips for a six. However, the former India captain did not last long as he got out two balls later, stepping out to attempt another big one but managing to shovel the slower one to Devon Conway at deep square leg.

Kohli and Iyer added 163 runs for the second wicket as India went past the 300 runs mark.

Iyer, who has been the aggressor in the partnership with Kohli, blazed to his fifty off 35 deliveries, hitting two fours and four sixes. He started by hitting Rachin Ravindra for a six and a four off successive balls in the 27th over and heaved Southee over wide long-on for another six. He took quite a liking to Ravindra’s gentle spinners as he smacked him for three more sixes. He completed his century off 67 balls, hitting three fours and eight sixes.

Iyer and Gill raised 50 runs for the third wicket partnership as India went past the 350 runs mark. Iyer was out, caught by Daryl Mitchell off Boult, his 105 coming off just 70 deliveries and lifting the innings after Gill got retired hurt. Gill returned to bat again, adding one run to his score as he remained unbeaten on 80 with KL Rahul batting on 39 as India reached a big total.

Brief scores:

India 397/4 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 117, Shreyas Iyer 105, Shubman Gill 80 not out; Rohit Sharma 47; KL Rahul 39 not out; Tim Southee 3-100) against New Zealand.



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