A tale of two fifties – the Virat-Shami show - Hindustan Times
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A tale of two fifties – the Virat-Shami show

ByHT Editorial
Nov 16, 2023 10:55 PM IST

India’s 10-match winning streak is the stuff of dreams —they have played with verve, genius, and joy in equal measure.

It has been the kind of tournament where everything that can go right has gone right for the Men in Blue. India’s 10-match winning streak is the stuff of dreams —they have played with verve, genius, and joy in equal measure. Each time it has looked like they might stutter, they have found a hero. And in that list of heroes, few shine brighter than Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. Kohli’s 711 runs (with one match to go) is a record for most runs scored in a single World Cup. And by scoring his 50th ODI century in the semi-final against New Zealand at Mumbai (117), he went past a record that many had thought would be unsurpassable. Sachin Tendulkar had held the record since September 26, 1998, when he passed Desmond Haynes’ tally of 17 and finally finished with 49. That Kohli went past him in just 279 innings speaks volumes about his drive, commitment and passion for the game. Getting a century in international cricket is never easy but Kohli makes it feel that way. One never thought Tendulkar’s record would be overtaken one day and perhaps, the very same feeling will accompany Kohli’s deeds.

Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami celebrate the wicket of New Zealand's Mitchell Santner during the ICC Men's World Cup ODI cricket match between India and New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala on October 22, 2023. (Manvender Vashist Lav/PTI) PREMIUM
Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami celebrate the wicket of New Zealand's Mitchell Santner during the ICC Men's World Cup ODI cricket match between India and New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala on October 22, 2023. (Manvender Vashist Lav/PTI)

It has been the kind of tournament where everything that can go right has gone right for the Men in Blue. India’s 10-match winning streak is the stuff of dreams —they have played with verve, genius, and joy in equal measure. Each time it has looked like they might stutter, they have found a hero. And in that list of heroes, few shine brighter than Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. Kohli’s 711 runs (with one match to go) is a record for most runs scored in a single World Cup. And by scoring his 50th ODI century in the semi-final against New Zealand at Mumbai (117), he went past a record that many had thought would be unsurpassable. Sachin Tendulkar had held the record since September 26, 1998, when he passed Desmond Haynes’ tally of 17 and finally finished with 49. That Kohli went past him in just 279 innings speaks volumes about his drive, commitment and passion for the game. Getting a century in international cricket is never easy but Kohli makes it feel that way. One never thought Tendulkar’s record would be overtaken one day and perhaps, the very same feeling will accompany Kohli’s deeds.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have a bowler who wasn’t even sure of his place in the playing 11 at the start of the World Cup but has produced bursts of brilliance that have carried India from one dominating win to another. The numbers speak for themselves: 23 wickets, best of 7/57, an average of 9.13, strike rate of 10.91. This isn’t normal, not in India, not in a World Cup. But Shami has done it with the nonchalance of a guy who is out taking an evening walk. He runs in hard, attacks the stumps and sticks to the plan. His 54 wickets across the World Cups are a record for India, but he’d like nothing more than to crown this showing with a win in the final at Ahmedabad.

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