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Kohli 'hunger' inspires India's Gill

Learning lessons: India's Shubman Gill (L) chats to Virat Kohli during their partnership in a World Cup semi-final win against New Zealand (Punit PARANJPE)
Learning lessons: India's Shubman Gill (L) chats to Virat Kohli during their partnership in a World Cup semi-final win against New Zealand (Punit PARANJPE)

India opener Shubman Gill said he had been inspired by the "hunger" of Virat Kohli after the two batsmen starred in the 70-run World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand on Wednesday.

The unbeaten tournament hosts piled up 397-4 with Kohli compiling a record-breaking 50th one-day international hundred during an innings of 117 as he surpassed the mark of 49 centuries he had shared with retired India great Sachin Tendulkar.

Shreyas Iyer piled on the agony for New Zealand with a rapid 105 and Gill, who finished on 80 not out, might have had a hundred as well if he had not earlier retired hurt at the Wankhede Stadium.

Gill, however, was in the middle with Kohli while they added 93 for the second wicket after India captain Rohit Sharma launched the innings with a typically quickfire 47.

"Every time he comes on to the park, he does something special and just how consistently he's been able to do it for the past 10-15 years is what is really inspiring," said Gill of Kohli.

"It's not so much about the skill that he has, but it's more about the hunger when he goes there and the intensity with which he plays the game is what inspires me.

"To be able to have that consistently for as long as he's been doing it is what really inspires me."

As for opening alongside Rohit, the 24-year-old Gill, a Junior World Cup winner, said : "He plays 10 overs; I play 15-20 balls. I rest and Rohit comes and does his thing. He scores four, he scores six -- and I just watch.

"My role is just play my game in the powerplay. Look for good shots, look for good boundaries and then once the powerplay's over, I can rotate the strike."

Gill added: "If I didn't get cramp, maybe I would have scored a hundred...It started with cramps and then I pulled my hamstring a little bit."

But he insisted he would "definitely be fit for Sunday's final in Ahmedabad against either Australia or South Africa.

New Zealand, losing finalists at the last two World Cups, struggled while chasing an imposing target of 398, despite Daryl Mitchell's fine 134.

Mohammed Shami did the damage during a superb return of 7-57, the paceman producing the best figures by any bowler in a World Cup semi-final, and any Indian in an ODI, as the unbeaten hosts made it 10 wins out of 10 at the tournament.

Gill said it was tough enough facing the likes of Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in practice, let alone in the middle.

"It's very difficult in the nets. But it is fun to play because even Bumrah, Siraj and Shami -- they enjoy playing us in nets and it is definitely very challenging."