The ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 semi-final between India and New Zealand turned out to be another one-sided victory for the hosts, at the full-house Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The match seemed relatively closer in the mid-part of the Kiwis’ chase as the number of extras due to wayward bowling and mis-fields by Indians gifted runs to Kane Williamson’s boys, and brought down India’s margin of victory to double digits.
Virat Kohli, now referred to as ‘King Kohli’, erased Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries by registering the highly-anticipated 50th ton and that too exactly at the same venue and same day when the ‘God of Cricket’ had announced his retirement 10 years ago. The feat saw Wankhede stadium erupt in delirium and Kohli take a bow to legendary Tendulkar, who was present at the stadium to see the new legend unfold.
The way India batted with centurions – Kohli, who tops the batting chart at the ongoing World Cup, and Shreyas Iyer taking charge after captain Rohit Sharma and Shubhman Gill laid a fabulous foundation, was sheer delight, and stamped hosts’ authority on the contest from the get-go.
Mohammed Shami was once again stupendous with the ball. He was unplayable and it is not an exaggeration! He moved the ball brilliantly and his seam position with that bit of extra pace, made Shami too hot to handle for the Kiwis. The seven wickets that Shami took also puts the Indian pacer in the pole position in the wicket-takers list.
Meanwhile, the fans displayed tremendous energy in cheering for the Team India and the atmosphere at the stadium was absolutely electric, despite the energy-sapping heat through the afternoon in Mumbai.
However, some of the slogans and demonstrations by fans left a bitter unsporting taste. The players are doing a job on the field of play for the country and thereby providing great entertainment. They need to be respected and / or criticised based on their performances.
Some of the chants directed at Shubhman Gill, said “Mumbai ka damaad kaisa ho, Shubhman Gill jaisa ho”, “Thari bhabi kaisi ho, Sara bhaabi jaisi ho”; and so on. That is utterly disgusting behaviour and such personal slogans should find no place in the stadium. Moreover, some people were seen holding placards before the match about Mohd Shami’s personal life and the alimony demand. These people need to ask these simple questions to themselves – What is the connection of that incident of Shami’s life to World Cup semi-final? Why are such things finding an international platform and what good does it do to the concerned player?
Indian fans also need to be disciplined and not litter the stadium. The host association will have a hard time cleaning up the venue as majority of the spectators left their garbage under the chairs. Meanwhile, the Association also stained their image as they failed to provide the basic necessity ‘water’ to spectators in the evening session. They neither allowed bottles inside and then ran out of water from the ‘Free Drinking Water’ service after doing a decent job in the first half of the match. Lots of lessons to be learnt, all around!