Following an impressive debut in the 2023 World Cup, where Mohammed Shami secured five wickets, the “Virat Kohli fortress” proved to be an insurmountable challenge for New Zealand, propelling India to their fifth consecutive victory in the tournament. Kohli’s remarkable contribution of 95 runs played a pivotal role in leading the Indian team to a successful chase of 274 runs. Although Virat narrowly missed a century, his 95-run innings proved more than sufficient, enabling the team to clinch the victory with 2 overs to spare. In the post-match analysis, New Zealand’s stand-in captain, Tom Latham, openly acknowledged the difficulty of devising strategies against Kohli, who consistently seems to have solutions for various game plans.
New Zealand’s performance revolved around Rachin Ravindra’s 75 and Daryl Mitchell’s remarkable 130, resulting in a total of 273 runs on the scoreboard. There was a moment when Latham’s team appeared poised to breach the 300-run mark, but the Indian bowlers effectively curtailed their progress.
Latham was full of praise for Virat Kohli’s exceptional innings, stating, “Kohli played a fantastic match, steering the game’s tempo and providing a solid foundation for the rest of the team. As a captain, you need to be proactive and consider strategic match-ups. Virat consistently finds ways to counter most plans.”
Regarding his own team’s batting performance, Latham believed that New Zealand could have fared better in the final 10 overs of their innings. He remarked, “We missed opportunities in the last ten overs (with the bat). India executed well in the death overs, and we left some runs on the table. Furthermore, we were unable to achieve a crucial double breakthrough with the ball. In my view, we fell short by 30-40 runs.”
Latham added, “From a batting perspective, the innings by Ravindra and Daryl offered an ideal blueprint. These are the positions we strive to be in, and when we execute effectively in the later stages of the game, we become a formidable force.”