World T20: Virat Kohli’s legend grows with Mohali masterpiece


MUMBAI: Just as American cable television was never the same from the time Tony Soprano met his ducks in the second week of 1999, so too Indian cricket promises to tread a different path following the exploits of Virat Kohli since 2016 rolled over.

Already this year, even before we come to the matter of what transpired in Mohali in game 31 of the ICC World Twenty20 between India and Australia, a must-win for the home team, Kohli had pulled off two super chases. The best before Sunday came against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, when Kohli looked on as Mohammad Amir reduced India to 8/3 when they were chasing 84. He produced a calculated 49 from 51 balls to be named Man of the Match. It was the difference between victory and defeat. In this tournament, India beat Pakistan at Eden Gardens with Kohli’s contribution being an excellent 55* from 37 balls from the ruins if 23/3 when chasing 119. You would have been hard pressed to imagine Kohli outdoing those two innings against the old rivals.

Just to remind anyone who may have forgotten, also in 2016 Kohli had fashioned three other winning chases: 50 from 36 balls to help drive India towards a last-ball chase at the SCG, 56* from 47 deliveries against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup and 41* from 28 to help India beat Bangladesh in the final off the same event.

But this effort against Australia in Mohali. Wow. It outdid everything else. Take a look at the final score. India chased 161 with five balls remaining. It was surreal to comprehend when you remember that at one stage they needed 59 from 30 balls. In the next 25 balls of the Indian innings, Kohli scored 45 from 19.

In the 16th over of India’s chase, bowled by Josh Hazlewood, Kohli skipped out to a slower delivery, rolled his wrists and placed the ball wide of mid-on for four. It was an amazing shot given the situation and field placements, and his shot bisected long-on and midwicket, reducing both fielders to spectators. The next ball was fuller and Kohli slapped into the covers for two. This was precise targeting of the bowler, made possible by crisp shot selection backed by excellent running. Having MS Dhoni pumping from the other end was just what India needed, and excellent running brought two more from the last ball of the over.

Click here for more…