Riding on Virat Kohli‘s historic 50th ODI ton, Shreyas Iyer’s second consecutive century and a seven-wicket haul from pacer Mohammed Shami, India beat Black Caps by 70 runs in the first semi-final in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“Today obviously being the semifinal, won’t say there was no pressure, whenever you play there’s pressure. Semifinal adds a bit extra, we wanted to not think too much about it, just do what we’ve been doing like in the first nine games. Things came off for us nicely in the second half.” said Rohit during the post-match presentation.
Rohit lauded his batters for helping the team post an imposing 397 for 4, that the Mumbaikar felt forced the Kiwis to take some risks during the chase.
“I’ve played a lot of cricket here (Wankhede Stadium), and you can’t relax with any score on this ground. Yeah, they wouldn’t have taken those risks (had India not posted 397).
“(Kane) Williamson and (Daryl) Mitchell batted brilliantly. It was important for us to stay calm. We knew that we needed a catch or run out and Shami was brilliant.”
Rohit then delved deeper into the batters’ effort.
“The form of the top five-six batters, whenever they’ve received an opportunity, they’ve made it count. I am very pleased to see what (Shreyas) Iyer has done for us. (Shubman) Gill, the way he batted for us has been brilliant.
“It was unfortunate that he had to go off with cramps. (Virat) Kohli did what he does, and also got his landmark century,” added Rohit.
Breaking: India enter World Cup 2023 final, beat New Zealand by 70 runs
We didn’t get a sniff: Williamson
New Zealand captain Kane Willamson was understandably crestfallen but gave credit to India for playing outstanding cricket throughout this showpiece.
“Congrats to India, they played outstandingly well, probably their best game today. Chasing 400 was naturally going to be a tough but proud effort to stay in the fight,” he said.
“Disappointing to go out but super proud of the effort that’s gone in for the last seven weeks. But India are top class, have world-class batters who didn’t give us a sniff really. They deserve to be where they are, played outstandingly well.”
Williamson was all praise for Rachin Ravindra, New Zealand’s highest run-getter in the tournament, and Daryl Mitchell, who made two centuries against India, including on this day, in the event.
“Rachin and Mitchell were special throughout the campaign, on varied surfaces. They played really, really well. Bowlers chipped in, a lot of fight.
“Even if it didn’t go our way, ultimately moving forward as a team, we’ve taken some really good steps in the right direction,” he signed off.
(With inputs from PTI)