There isn’t much you can do when Virat Kohli is on song. Australia found out as their World T20 campaign closed with a six-wicket defeat to India. Kohli, the master of run-chases, was at it again, helping India with his unbeaten 82.
A nation sighed in relief as India made it through to the semi-final and setup a date with the West Indies on March 31 in Mumbai.
Chasing 161 in front of a huge home crowd, India had a rocky start of sorts when they lost three for only 49 runs in the eighth over. The focus was on Kohli, who started off with aggression but had to temper it with the fall of wickets.
Local hero Yuvraj Singh walked in and hurt his leg during his innings. He needed attention from the physio on a couple of occasions as he ambled along his knock.
It was evident that he was unable to run properly and India missed a few twos in the middle. He did give his fans brief joy when he cleared Adam Zampa over long-on. But, he was ultimately dismissed on 21, with India needing 67 off the last six.
MS Dhoni’s entry to the crease brought in life in terms of running between the wickets. Kohli dabbed it around and the duo sprinted across to covert ones into twos. With 39 needed off three, Kohli decided it was time.
He pulled James Faulkner through square-leg for four and then guided one past point for another. The third ball was then dispatched for a huge six over long-off.
That 19-run over significantly brought the pressure down, with India needing 20 off the last two overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile leaked four boundaries as India inched closer.
Dhoni finished it off with a loft over mid-on and Kohli bowed down – a gesture that showed how much this win meant to him.
Earlier, Australia had won the toss and chose to bat first. Both sides came unchanged into this game, which meant that Australia retained Aaron Finch as their opener.
Australia started off well with Usman Khawaja finding the boundaries quite regularly. Australia seemed to have come out with a plan as Ravichandran Ashwin was attacked from ball one.
That pressure worked as Ashwin went for 31 in his two overs and didn’t complete his quota. Australia had sped away to their fifty inside four overs, but they then lost a little momentum.
The wicket was on the slower side and shot making was not very easy. Most of the Australia batsmen got starts. Finch scored 43 and Glenn Maxwell held the ship with a calm 31, which featured his typical reverse-hit for a six.
Australia seemed to finish in the 150s but a four and a six off the last two balls by Peter Nevill took them to 160. Ashish Nehra led the way for India with one for 20. Ravindra Jadeja and Yuvraj too managed to maintain a hold in the middle overs.
Nishad Pai Vaidya in Mohali