India vs Australia – Simply ‘Kohli-fied’
What an amazing script has been this world cup, In many ways the campaign as been very similar to 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup which India won. In the ongoing T20 World Cup, Team India has had some similar hiccups in the early stages and now seem to be well on track for their second title as T20 World Champions after beating the mighty Australians. Although, India vs Australia encounter was a group clash it had almost become a virtual quarter-final clash between the mavericks. Back in 2011, my prediction was that if we happen to beat the Aussies in Q/F we would win the world cup and that's what unfolded and I am hoping the script would be the same this time too. But beating Aussies isn't a cakewalk, has we all know especially when India hasn't been really on top of their game in this tournament except Virat Kohli who's been single-handedly winning crucial games for us. Let's check out, what unfolded in far away Mohali, Punjab between these two highly competitive sides who locked horns for the supremacy.
Virat Kohli, has been the go-to man for India in their T20 World Cup campaign winning crucial games for the team. He was again the man in focus ahead of India – Australia clash in Mohali. Given how he has tormented Aussies before, there was a lot of twitter banter, expectations and hopes riding on Kohli.
In the past, Aussies have won crucial games against India by winning the toss, batting first and dominating from the word go by playing attacking cricket. Usman Khawaja, the Aussie opener as been in tremendous form in the tournament who took the attack to Indian bowlers.
Aaron Finch sweeps hard against a spinner. Aussie openers raced away to 60/0 under 6 overs. India's pacemen and spinners couldn't control the initial onslaught by the well-set batsmen. It looked like 220 + was on cards at the run rate which they were going at.
India celebrates the wicket of Usman Khawaja, the dangerous opener was gone when Nehra produced a beauty which shaped away from his off stump catching a thick edge caught by Dhoni. Breakthrough for India and now they seriously had to pull back Australia.
We know how dangerous David Warner can be! He alone can destroy a bowling attack on his day. Luckily, Ashwin got him early with a ball which spun away from the left-hander beating his bat and Dhoni doing the rest behind stumps. Pheww… two quick wickets.
India started to pull things back with controlled bowling and fielding against the Aussies. As the ball got older and the field spread, the Aussies found it difficult to keep pushing the run rate high.
Dhoni, this man has probably the toughest job in India which he manages with great calmness and composure. He's very pro-active and always stays busy on field, checking field placements, talking to his bowlers, strategizing with his team and controlling the chaos with thousands of spectators, cricket-pundits, critical commentators and hungry media ready to take on him for any shortcoming.
Maxwell played a small cameo but couldn't really do much damage and Australia ended up with a formidable total of 160/6 against India with some late surge from Neville and Watson. At one stage, they looked set for 200 but 160 was still a good total and a tricky wicket which was slowing down where the ball was skidding. India surely had their task cut out to beat the Aussies.
Aussie paceman Coulter-Nile in action. Their bowlers bowled with a lot of aggression, pace and accuracy. Indian openers couldn't do what the Aussie openers did to Indian bowlers in the first 6 overs and everyone praying that either Rohit or Dhawan would lead the chase from the front, setting up the platform for chasing the total down.
Once again the Indian openers were disappointing with their performance. Both Dhawan & Rohit departed early without causing much trouble to Australians. It once again had to be Virat to the rescue, can he do it again?
Virat Kohli looked like he was in great touch and immediately scored two back to back boundaries off Hazelwood. Entire Mohali crowd was chanting battle cry Kohli, Kohli, Kohli!
Watson celebrates the wicket of Suresh Raina after getting Rohit Sharma out earlier. What an incredible career he's had for Australia! It started off with great IPL success and later he was part of all three formats for Australia and he even led in all three formats for a brief stint. An incredible all-rounder in short-format of the game.
Yuvraj getting attention from the physio after twisting his ankle, at this juncture that's the worst India could have expected to happen while chasing. They were clearly under pressure, Aussies were not letting any partnerships to grow. Yuvraj stayed for a while in middle stitching a partnership before being dismissed by Shane Watson's stunning catch off Faulkner.
Dhoni and Virat combined together to guide India through the chase. Virat Kohli was the key batsman but Dhoni was the right partner to make sure Kohli didn't slip-up anywhere. Things were getting very tight and tense in the last 5 overs, as the required run-rate had jumped to12 per over.
The running between the wickets between Dhoni & Virat was absolutely breathtaking. Suddenly, Aussie bowlers and fielders were under pressure to contain the scoring rate where the batsmen were not taking any huge risks but were still able to get 12-14 runs an over.
Virat valiantly dives to save himself from the runout!
Meanwhile, Virat kept India in the chase by finding gaps and playing some incredible cricketing shots off the back foot and front foot. If India were to win it had to be only because of Kohli.
The contest was clearly between Aussies and Kohli. If Kohli dominated, India would win. If Aussies removed Kohli they would go onto win the match.
Virat Kohli targeted James Faulkner's 17th over when they needed 39 off 18 balls. They couldn't risk taking it to the last over against Aussies, they had to target now and get maximum runs and Kohli like a boss smashed Faulkner (again) all around the park to steal 19 runs. He was absolutely pumped and Faulkner was left stunned!
Shane Watson dives for the one last time trying to save a boundary and by now all Aussie hopes of winning had been dashed by Kohli. Dhoni as customary hit the winning runs to see India beat the Aussies by 6 wickets and with 5 balls to spare.
Virat Kohli thanking the crowd for its passionate support and cheer.
It's the crowd support which makes a huge difference when India plays! The passion, love and sometimes even despise comes from a passionate crowd. Mohali has the capacity of only 30,000 people but yet it was one of the noisiest crowd and jovial crowd. It was unbelievable and actually made it hard to focus on the game trying to capture images.
Virat Kohli became the biggest difference against the Aussies. He's been their nemesis for a long time after taking over the mantle from Sachin. The entire cricketing world was stunned and applauded his greatness. The statistics, the class and sheer temperament to overcome totals while chasing as been something special from Kohli. India had now qualified for semis in Mumbai where they are going to meet the tricky Windies on their road to finals.
I said earlier that we will win the World Cup, If we happen to beat the Aussies and I still feel the cup is ours if we play next couple of games to our full potential.
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