Mohali: ‘Miracles don’t happen, they have to be created.’ This is the tag line of the ICC World T20 television commercials where Indian players are seen challenging their limits.
India’s Virat Kohli glides one on the off-side against Australia in the ICC World T20 game at Mohali last night. PIC/getty images
It indeed required a mini miracle for India to go through to the semi-final after reeling at 4-94 in 14 overs. And the act was performed by India’s man-in-form Virat Kohli, who played a top-class, unbeaten knock of 82 in 51 balls to chase down Australia’s 161-run target with six wickets and five balls to spare at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here yesterday.
On what was by far the best batting surface that Team India has got in the ICC World T20, Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Rohit Sharma (12) could not make full use of the conditions. Initially, the duo timed the ball well, but were dismissed after unnecessarily trying to take risks.
There was a phase when Kohli and Yuvraj Singh were unable to send any ball beyond the boundary line for 19 balls before Kohli slammed one straight over the long-off fielder for a six, bringing the crowd on their feet. They erupted with joy when Yuvraj, battling a twisted ankle, smashed a full toss from leggie Adam Zampa for a six, which was in the southpaw’s favourite zone. Yuvraj departed lobbing the ball to Shane Watson, who had to cover much ground and dive to catch it.
Kohli and MS Dhoni were left with the task of chasing 67 from 36 balls. They ran hard between the wickets. Even good deliveries ended up being sent to the boundary. Kohli’s wristy shots were a treat to watch. There was a little competition between Kohli and James Faulkner and the former emerged triumphant in the end, smashing two fours and a six in succession as chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ echoed across the ground.
Poor over by Faulkner
Faulkner’s over (18th of the innings) in which he conceded 19 runs brought the equation down for India from 39 off 18 to 20 off 12 balls. Kohli then slammed Nathan Coulter-Nile for four boundaries to take 16 runs off the next over. Needing four off the last over, Dhoni (18 not out) dispatched the full toss over mid-on for a boundary.
The way the Aussies started off, it seemed the call to bat first was right. Australia had 53 on the board – their highest score in four overs in T20Is. India’s frontline bowlers were taken to task by Aaron Finch (43) and Khawaja (26), who was particularly brutal against Jasprit Bumrah.
U Khawaja c Dhoni
b Nehra 26
A Finch c Dhawan
b Pandya 43
D Warner st Dhoni
b Ashwin 6
S Smith c Dhoni b Y Singh ..2
G Maxwell b Bumrah 31
S Watson not out 18
J Faulkner c Kohli
b Pandya 10
P Nevill not out 10
Extras (lb 2, w 11, nb 1) 14 Total (6 wickets; 20 overs) 160
Fall of wickets 1-54, 2-72, 3-74, 4-100, 5-130, 6-145
A Nehra 4-0-20-1
J Bumrah 4-0-32-1
R Ashwin 2-0-31-1
R Jadeja 3-0-20-0
Y Singh 3-0-19-1
H Pandya 4-0-36-2
R Sharma b Watson 12
S Dhawan c Khawaja
b C Nile 13
V Kohli not out 82
S Raina c Nevill b Watson 10 Y Singh c Watson
b Faulkner 21
M Dhoni not out 18
Extras (lb 3, w 2) 5
Total (4 wickets; 19.1 overs) 161
Fall of wickets 1-23, 2-37, 3-49, 4-94
J Hazlewood 4-0-38-0
C Nile 4-0-33-1
S Watson 4-0-23-2
J Faulkner 3.1-0-35-1
G Maxwell 2-0-18-0
A Zampa 2-0-11-0
India vs Aus stats
Number of runs scored by Australia between overs No 5 to 14 (10 overs). They scored 53 in first four
Number of fours hit by Usman Khawaja in four matches. The most by an Aussie in this edition of World T20. Shane Watson
is second with nine fours
Virat Kohli is the only Indian to score half-centuries in this edition of World Twenty20. After Kohli, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina have scored 30 each
Number of runs conceded by India off-spinner R Ashwin in his first over of the match — his second worst figures in an over in T20Is. He was the most expensive bowler yesterday, finishing with figures of 1-31 in two overs at 15.50