Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

ICC World Twenty20: India, Virat unbeaten

Virat Kohli celebrates after hitting the winning runs against South Africa in the second semifinal on Friday. (Reuters) Virat Kohli celebrates after hitting the winning runs against South Africa in the second semifinal on Friday. (Reuters)
Written by Nihal Koshie | Mirpur | Posted: April 5, 2014 1:45 am | Updated: April 5, 2014 2:40 pm

Mahendra Singh Dhoni spotted the slower ball even as it left the hand of medium-pacer Beuran Hendricks. Only the finishing touch needed to be given to the run chase against South Africa for  India to enter the final. With only one run required off seven balls to achieve the target of 173,  Dhoni might have as well have carted the ball over the deep midwicket fence and completed the  formality.

Instead he waited for the ball to arrive and met it with the full face of the bat’s blade. As the ball dropped down on the pitch and rolled a small distance, Virat Kohli looked amused about his  captain’s reluctance to finish off the game. Especially after he had told Dhoni, ‘Aap khatam karo’.

Kohli did finish it off with a boundary the following ball, off Dale Steyn, and India reached their  third ICC final in as many years. But interestingly enough, despite Dhoni’s defensive play off the  previous ball, India were successful against South Africa on Friday mainly due to the fact that  they allowed the opposition’s bowlers to bowl a very low percentage of dot balls to them. And Kohli  epitomised this fact.

Kohli at least scored a run in 65 of the 68 balls he faced. He took 28 singles, 10 of these off  leg-spinner Imran Tahir. Of the first 16 balls he faced, Kohli didn’t strike a boundary. He was  patient and calm, but what really made him stand apart on Friday was what usually makes him stand  apart in run chases. In the 50-over format, 12 out of his 13 hundreds while chasing have resulted in  an India win. A few of these successful chases have arrived right here in Sher-e-Bangla, a home away  from home for Virat Kohli.

He didn’t hit a hundred on Friday. Neither did he stroke too many boundaries (seven fours and a  six). Yet, he called the knock his ‘best innings’, one that was good enough for India to make it to  their second World T20 final — the first time since India won the inaugural tournament back in  2007.

The number three bat had walked in at 39 for one, and the end of the fourth over. Luckily for Kohli,  India had got off to a good start — 33 for no loss in three overs. This ensured that he did not have  to attempt the big strokes at the start of his innings. Chances are that if he had done so, it could  have led to his dismissal because this wasn’t the most fluent of Kohli’s innings.

Watchful start

The easy use of the wrists to smash the ball past covers or the powerful flick to midwicket was not  on show early on.

From the non-strikers’ end, Kohli soon watched continued…

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