ICC World Cup 2023 – India vs New Zealand – Virat Kohli leaves him wanting more after No. 49 misses out by narrow margin

The crowd of 25,000 people at the HPCA Stadium stood on their feet. His name was chanted with the same enthusiasm as the whole of India did when they chanted “Sachin! Sachin!” Used to say. Virat Kohli He was one step away from equaling his idol’s record of most ODI centuries.

As was the case with his 48th century against Bangladesh in Pune last weekend, Kohli’s century haul on Sunday added excitement to the final stages of India’s chase. With four overs remaining, Kohli had to score 18 out of 19 runs to win against New Zealand.

It was around this point that he made a real dash, driving Trent Boult in front of square for six and backing it up with a bullet drive down the ground for four. When Ravindra Jadeja offered copybook forward defense on the last ball to keep Kohli on strike for the next over, the packed crowd as well as some people in the dugout started laughing.

Three nights ago, he not only completed his century by hitting a six off Nasum Ahmed but also sealed victory over Bangladesh. It looked as if he was set to do it again, but on 95, with just five runs needed to surpass the target of 274, Kohli edged a slower ball from Matt Henry to Glenn Phillips at deep midwicket. Pulled closer.

Before the rousing welcome, Kohli found himself in disbelief. The number 49 may have to wait, but given his recent form it seems inevitable. This was an innings that was all the more important for the team, as India’s batting was weak after No. 7. And when Suryakumar Yadav was run out, it appeared that Kohli had a hand in the dismissal, with India still needing 83 runs out of 87. Five wickets remaining.

Kohli made 78 runs with Ravindra Jadeja to take India to its fifth win, which was won with 14 balls to spare. This means India are the only unbeaten team in the competition as the halfway stage approaches.

When Indian captain Rohit Sharma was asked about Kohli’s excellent form, he was at a loss for words. So far in the World Cup, he has 354 runs in five innings with three half-centuries and one century.

Rohit said, “To be honest, there is not much to say. We have seen him doing this for many years.” “Such a calm mind. He will back himself to get the job done. There was a bit of pressure at the end, we lost a few wickets there, but Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja pulled us back.”

Unlike Rohit, Tom Latham also praised him, saying, “As a captain, you have to be proactive but at the same time work according to your plans.” “Think about the match-ups. Most of Virat’s plans have a reaction.”

Kohli has been in excellent form throughout the tournament. It started with KL Rahul taking a rearguard when India were reduced to 2 for 3 while chasing 200 against Australia in their opening match. Kohli helped stabilize the innings by adding 164 runs for the fourth wicket before India won by six wickets in Chennai.

Against Afghanistan in Delhi, Kohli batted like he was on a joy ride, taking advantage of a strong 156-run partnership between Rohit and Ishan Kishan in the chase of 273. Kohli scored an unbeaten 55 and saw India chase the target without pressure. Sealed in 35 overs.

Last weekend in Pune, Kohli touched on the desperation to perform well after completing his century with a six to seal the win over Bangladesh. That milestone sparked some talk about Kohli and India possibly sacrificing a few decimal points of their net run rate to allow Kohli to reach his milestone.

“I wanted to make a big contribution,” Kohli said after the match. “I have scored a few fifties in the World Cup, and I have never really converted them, so I just wanted to finish the game this time.” Was. Yeah, hang on till the end, that’s what I’ve done over the last few years with this team.”

On Sunday, he once again stayed on the course until the end. This set the team up for its fifth win, and gradually a place in the semi-finals began to be confirmed.

Shashank Kishore is senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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