Batting superstar Virat Kohli feared that India were virtually out of the ICC World T20 after the first 10 overs of their chase against Australia and has no idea how he and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni managed to achieve the seemingly imposing target.
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“It virtually felt like you are out of the tournament at the end of 10 overs. To pull the game back after that along with MS Dhoni – I don’t know how we did it. Even out there in the middle, I didn’t know how this was happening. I am just grateful that I was able to do it for the team,” Kohli told BCCI.TV after scripting India’s memorable win.
He spoke about how emotional he became once Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning boundary.
“It was a pretty emotional feeling when I saw Dhoni hitting the winning runs. I don’t really know what to say. That is the reason you play the sport. That is the feeling that you crave as a sportsperson. It is such a wonderful moment for your team. To see your teammates celebrate and get happy is a wonderful feeling,” added Kohli.
By his own admission, he has “never played an innings” in a situation where 39 were needed in last three overs.
“I have never played an innings like that where we needed 39 off 3 overs and I have been able to pull it off with MS Dhoni batting at the other end,” Kohli said after his masterclass that took India into the semi-finals.
Kohli said that he had decided to target James Faulkner in the 18th over.
“The thoughts, the pre-planning for the boundary just kept coming to me in my mind. I knew a hundred percent that I had to target James Faulkner in the 18th over. I thought 3 overs and 39 runs, and one over has to be a big one at least close to 15 runs. We got bigger (19) than that. I think just before the 16th over, I thought if we don’t get too many boundaries, we might be struggling in the end because the pitch was not as flat.”
Kohli said that the slower balls were holding up. “The slower balls were holding up. It was very important to stay in the moment and pick your gaps. It was a quick outfield, so I knew if I could beat the fielder inside the ring, I would probably end up getting four runs.”
The best part about having Dhoni at the other end is that he pushed for the twos.
“I think what really helped was him (Dhoni) running those twos. The opposition panicked a bit because of that. They were
unsettled because they knew we could run the runs as well and get 12 off one over without taking a risk. I think that is when the bowlers started thinking too much,” Kohli said.
“Credit to MS Dhoni. He kept me calm and kept telling me – ‘Pick your areas, these many runs are left in these many balls’. He didn’t want me to get carried away or over excited. He just kept telling me what are the areas I could pick and that just gave me assurance,” Kohli said.
“If I was going to go towards covers, he would give me assurance again and I became confident. I think that is where communication and partnership helps. It was wonderful to pull the team out of that situation.”
Kohli said that it is for the cricket lovers to decide where to put this Indian chase in the pecking order.
“I don’t know where I would put this chase. It is up to the people to decide that. I enjoy playing every innings for my country. Hopefully, they think this is one of the better chases the Indian team has pulled off. Not just me, it is an effort by everyone. I scored 82; I didn’t score all the runs in the game. Others have contributed as well, so credit goes to them also.”