Virat Kohli may have stolen the limelight, but it was Indian bowler Mohammed Shami who also etched his name into the record books.
Kohli scored a record-breaking 50th one-day international hundred before Shami took a sensational seven wicket-haul as India sealed a place in the World Cup final with a 70-run win over New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday.
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Kohli made 117, to surpass the record he had shared with India great Sachin Tendulkar, to move clear atop the all-time standings.
Despite being set 398 runs to chase down, New Zealand threw everything they had at their rivals with Daryl Mitchell delivering a stunning 134 off 119 balls.
But it was Shami who played the role of saviour for India as he made history by becoming the first bowler to take three five-wicket hauls at the same World Cup.
Shami took a 7-57 as New Zealand, the losing finalists at the last two World Cups and conquerors of India in a 2019 semi-final, were dismissed for 327.
Shami’s figures were the best by an Indian bowler in a one-day international and the best in any World Cup semi-final, surpassing Australia left-arm quick Gary Gilmour’s 6-14 against England in 1975.
“I still believe in pitching it up and getting wickets with the new ball,” said Shami.
“The last two World Cups, we lost in the semis. Who knows when or if we’ll get a chance, so this was one chance we didn’t want to let go.”
The seven-wicket haul takes Shami to the top of the wicket leaderboard with 23, one ahead of Adam Zampa on 22.
Shami’s heroics came after Kohli wrote his name into the record books after bringing up his milestone with a flick to the leg side for two in what is just his 291st ODI match.
Kohli had been close to reaching the mark earlier in the tournament, scoring 85 against Australia, 95 against New Zealand and 88 against Sri Lanka to go with his hundreds against Bangladesh and South Africa.
Kohli finally fell for 117 off 113 balls but the record is safely in his pocket — as is the record for the most runs in a World Cup tournament as he moved to 711 runs, passing another Tendulkar record at 673 set at the 2003 World Cup.
Kohli had battled cramp as he neared the triple-figures, but nothing could stop the inevitable as the superstar now stands alone at the summit of ODI cricket.
As he ran the two to bring up the milestone, his arms went into the air and he leapt and punched the air.
“Number 50 arrives for Virat Kohli and he stands alone aloft on that summit,” Harsha Bhogle said in commentary.
“Nobody else there. And that feeling of achievement will be tinged with a little bit of humility with the fact that he’s gone past someone that he absolutely adored.
“But what a career this is. Fifty one-day hundreds. Fifty, just let that sink in a little bit.”
Speaking after the innings, Kohli said it was a “dream”.
“It’s too good to be true, surreal, I never thought I’d be here ever in my career,” Kohli said.
“Just to help the team so many times, again today, I had to play the role that I’ve played throughout the tournament so the guys around me could express themselves.
“Just glad that everything could come together so nicely and we put a great total on the board as well.”
Originally published as Mohammed Shami makes World Cup history with devastating spell