Virat Kohli overcomes fog and New Zealand to continue India's World Cup march

Star batsman hits 95 after Shami's five-wicket haul as hosts battle to four-wicket win in Dharamsala

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Virat Kohli played another match-winning innings in a tense run chase as India finally defeated New Zealand in a World Cup match for their fifth win of the tournament in Dharamsala on Sunday.

Kohli hit a sparkling 95 and received excellent support from all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (39) as the hosts chased down the 274-run target with four wickets and 12 balls in hand.

The conditions proved challenging throughout the day. The poor state of the outfield meant India's fielders were unwilling to dive near the boundary ropes. Then in the evening, a thick blanket of fog engulfed the stadium, suspending play. The temperature plummeted to less than 15º Celsius in the evening, in stark contrast to the stifling heat and humidity of Mumbai where England and South Africa players struggled.

It all added to the drama in what was the first close game of the World Cup.

India captain Rohit Sharma and fellow opener Shubman Gill continued their good form, adding 71 inside 12 overs with some crisp stroke play.

However, the introduction of pacer Lockie Ferguson brought joy for the Kiwis as he castled Sharma (46) off an inside edge and then had Gill (26) caught at third man off an upper cut.

But Kohli steadied the ship, as he has done a number of times in tense chases. He got good support from Shreyas Iyer (33), who fell to the short ball again.

The situation became tense for the hosts as KL Rahul got out lbw for 27 and Suryakumar Yadav was run out after a mix up with Kohli.

But the last recognised batsman Jadeja provided excellent company for Kohli, remaining unbeaten and hitting the winning runs off Matt Henry.

Kohli had hoped to hit the winning shot that would have also brought up his century. Like in the previous match against Bangladesh, Kohli refused a single while approaching his century in the 48th over. But this time, he was caught at midwicket the very next ball to add another twist to the tale.

But Jadeja hit a boundary one ball later to earn India their first World Cup win over the Kiwis since the 2003 edition.

Earlier, India's fielders were unusually sloppy in the first half of the innings as they dropped three chances.

Daryl Mitchell was one of the beneficiaries as he hit a sparkling century to guide New Zealand to 273 all out.

The Black Caps had lost their openers early but Mitchell (130) and Rachin Ravindra (75) put on 159 to get the innings back on track.

They looked set for a 300-plus total after being well placed on 205-3 in the 37th over. But from there, India's pacers pulled things back brilliantly.

Fast bowler Mohammad Shami, playing his first match of the tournament, had picked up a wicket off his first ball and then returned to put the brakes on New Zealand's batting.

Shami had Ravindra and Mitchell caught down the ground while he castled Mitchell Santner and Henry with deliveries that tailed in late.

Shami returned brilliant figures of 5-54, becoming the first Indian to take two five-wicket hauls in World Cups.

India were without all-rounder Hardik Pandya, which meant they had to bolster both their batting and bowling, bringing in Shami and Suryakumar.

Updated: October 22, 2023, 5:16 PM