Anushka Sharma embodied the collective sentiment when Virat Kohli narrowly escaped dismissal on zero during the semi-final clash between India and New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
Anushka Sharma found herself in a similar situation eight years ago at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Virat Kohli, playing his second World Cup semi-final, was dismissed for a mere 1 against Australia. The aftermath subjected Anushka, Kohli’s partner at the time, to months of unwarranted criticism, with the Indian public unfairly holding her responsible for the team’s loss by 95 runs. Despite enduring relentless trolling for months and even years, she limited her public appearances while steadfastly supporting Kohli and the Indian cricket team. Over time, the wounds healed.
On Wednesday, Anushka’s anxieties resurfaced as Kohli faced a close DRS appeal just two balls into his innings in the 2023 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. An in-cutter struck Kohli’s pads, triggering an immediate appeal from New Zealand. Although the on-field umpire, Richard Illingworth, ruled it not out, Kane Williamson opted for the Decision Review System (DRS) after consulting with his players. India had recently lost Rohit Sharma in the same over for a quick 47, and another wicket could have dealt a significant blow to the team.
Fortunately, Kohli survived the scare. New Zealand lost the DRS challenge as the ultra-edge displayed a minimal spike when the ball reached the bat, rendering ball-tracking unnecessary. While Kohli knew he was safe, a broad smile lit up his face. The camera then turned to Anushka, who, in a gesture of relief, folded her hands and released a deep sigh as Kohli marked his first run with a boundary.
Despite Rohit Sharma’s early departure, India maintained momentum, with Shubman Gill and Kohli building a steady partnership. Rohit had showcased his form with four fours and four sixes off just 29 balls before falling to Tim Southee’s slower delivery. Southee’s seventh dismissal of Rohit in ODIs momentarily hushed the Wankhede crowd. However, Gill and Kohli guided India forward, surpassing the 100-run mark, and Shubman reached his 13th ODI fifty.