The top two teams of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup faced each other in Kolkata’s Eden Garden today. While both the teams had already comfortably ensured their place in the semis, today’s match was important because, for many of us, it was a teaser of the grand finale coming two weeks later.

The match concluded with India continuing the winning streak and defeating South Africa by an enormous 243 runs. Well, it was a great, great day for us, and here are 8 most unforgettable highlights of the match.

1. Captain Rohit Sharma’s short but really impactful inning

India won the toss and chose to bat first. And within the first six overs, Captain Rohit Sharma’s impactful inning in partnership with Shubman Gill gave India a comfortable headstart of 62 runs. Sharma got caught out at Rabada’s ball in the 5th over, scoring 40 runs in just 24 balls. His inning was short but really impactful.

2. Virat Kohli recorded his fifth half-century in the 2023 World Cup on his birthday

After Rohit Sharma’s wicket, Virat Kohli walked onto the pitch to bat to the cheers of the Kolkata crowd on his 35th birthday. He struck an important partnership with Shreyas Iyer and hit his fifth 50 for the 2023 World Cup tournament. Out of the eight matches India has played so far, Kohli has recorded five half-centuries, one century, and three almost centuries.

3. ‘Sandese Aate Hain…’

When the match seemed slow, the camera rolled on to Rohit Sharma confiding something crucial for Ishan Kishan to deliver. Not too long after, Kishan came to the field carrying drinks and conveyed the message to Shreyas Iyer.

4. ‘Sandese‘ did the job, and Shreyas Iyer smashed a half-century not too long after

After Gill’s dismissal, Iyer formed a match-defining partnership of 134 runs with Kohli. He smashed a half-century in 64 balls and gave India a crucial 77 runs in 87 balls.

5. Of course, King Kohli’s 49th ODI century, equalling Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most 100s in ODI cricket

Life came a full circle when Kohli scored his 49th century on the same ground where he scored his debut maiden ODI century. Birthday boy treated himself and us with century.

6. Siraj taking the first wicket for India in the second over and dismissing Quinton de Kock

The match had barely begun, and in came India’s fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, in the second over. He dismissed Quinton de Kock — the man who has been the highest scorer in the tournament so far — for five runs.

7. Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling spell…

Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliant bowling today left the stadium and his team in complete awe. The man drew five wickets from South Africa, the team that has been dominating the tournament with their in-form batting, and drastically reduced their net run rate.

8. Well, India’s entire bowling attack

Somewhere between the overs, commentators were wondering whether the current team India is the strongest ever in terms of bowling, and it’s true. South Africa has been in form with multiple World Cup matches scoring 400+ runs. But our bowlers completely dominated their innings today and concluded the match before the team could even complete 100.

9. Virat Kohli’s wholesome reaction on equalling his hero, Sachin Tendulkar’s record

He said, “For me, it’s all too much to take in right now, to be honest. To equal my hero’s record in one-day internationals is something that is a huge honour for me. I know that people like comparisons, but I’m never gonna be as good as him…”

Today’s match was brilliant. At the end, Shami’s sly remark summed the emotion the for us, “har baar 400 paar karne wali ka haal dekho“.