WT20 flashback: Did Mitchell Johnson sledge at the wrong time?

Mar 30, 2016, 08:30 IST | Michael Jeh

Dangerous tactic, Mitchell Johnson. Not sure your old Aussie teammates will thank you for rattling the tiger's cage, writes Michael Jeh

Brisbane: 3 am in Australia. Bleary-eyed. Most sensible people asleep. But King Kohli is still in the castle. Fifty nine needed off four overs. Mitch Johnson reckons Kohli went missing under pressure last year. Dangerous tactic Mitch...not sure your old teammates will thank you for rattling the tiger's cage.

Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson

Sleep? No way! Not whilst The Fire (Kohli) and The Ice (MS Dhoni) are in the house. James Faulkner running in. Prides himself on being The Finisher. We all know what happened a few months ago in Australia. No love lost between these two. Slower ball leg-spinner.

Faulkner's stock in trade. Disappears behind square like a rocket. Won't do that again. Let's see what he's like through the off-side then. Kohli slices and dices him through point with wrists of steel. Eyes burning, pride on the line. Australia still ahead of the game but there's a firestorm bearing down on Faulkner. Wow! How do you flick a ball for six over cover? It's not possible.

These Indians are meant to be strong off their pads but how do you play a shot like that with pure wrist power? The Finisher walks away, head bowed. 22 off 2 needed now. Will need to close this out. If Nathan Coulter-Nile goes for 10 this over, need to defend 12. I am The Finisher. I can take Kohli down. It's the Aussie way. Never stop believing. And Mitch reckons Kohli goes missing under pressure...hope he's right.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

This is why Coulter-Nile was selected. No Big Bash cricket this season. Picked on net form. Picked because he bowls fast. Indians don't usually like the quick stuff. He'll douse the fire. Probably even knock him over. That'll leave just Dhoni to deal with. Six balls later and we haven't even bowled to Dhoni.

Kohli doesn't rotate strike very well. What do you reckon, Mitch? Is he a selfish batsman too? Did he go missing under pressure? Did you see those three tracer bullets piercing the covers? What about the swivel pull through backward square? Sixteen off the over. Game over? We've still got The Finisher to bowl the last over. First ball, full toss, game over. Faulkner finished. Again. Second time in a World T20 knock-out game. Remember Darren Sammy last time?

Who's taken the gas now Mitch? The Finisher or the guy that supposedly goes missing? So many things you'd change in hindsight. Win the toss and give Kohli the chance to chase down a total? The guy has numbers like Bradman chasing totals down.

Pick a bloke who hasn't played much T20 cricket recently and give him the 19th over? Only two overs from your leg-spinner? Even Yuvraj was trusted with more bowling on this pitch. And someone tell Mitch to put a sock in it from 5000 miles away... this Kohli bloke is the most phenomenal finisher in the history of cricket. Wrong sledge, wrong time. Don't rattle his cage. 4 am and trying to fall asleep.

Adrenalin levels still crazy after watching that stunning execution. Will West Indies learn anything from this? Try to get Kohli to set a total and see if Gayle can hunt it down. Hard to see anyone else winning it from here if Kohli is in this sort of form. And we haven't really seen anything from the rest of the batsmen yet. Matter of time before the other big guns fire.

Pure genius
Can anyone stop Kohli in this form? He doesn't even slog. No need for reverse sweeps or ramp shots. Just pure genius under pressure. Wondering if Mitch watched the game? Dumb and dumber... did anyone tell him that Kohli feeds off negative energy? Checked out his record under pressure? For a man of fire, he has ice in his veins. Not rocks in his head. Like some!

Michael Jeh is a Brisbane-based former first-class player

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