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Sunday, March 27, 2016

India beats Australia at Mohali - into Semis ...Virat Kohli class shows !

The clock just struck 11 pm – not many would have heard that – for it was crackers, shouts and more – every Indian fan feeling happy …. India has won – India has beaten Australia in the group match, a virtual QF and reached Semis – would play West Indies, while New Zealand would play England.

At Mohali, Steven Smith won the toss and chose to bat.  Both captains named unchanged teams, Australia resisting the temptation to tweak their side after beating Pakistan, and India now going through the group stage with the same XI in each match. Smith said the pitch looked good for batting but might slow up later in the game, and MS Dhoni said he too would have batted had he won the toss. Both teams had beaten Bangladesh and Pakistan, and lost to New Zealand, which made the clash a straight knockout contest.

Aussies just raced in the first few overs.  After 4 overs, the last of which of Ashwin yielding 22, Australians were 53/0 – a run rate of 13.25.  Finch 21 (9b) and Khawaja 26 (off 15) were looking ominous.  Chasing 161, it was not a good start, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina all failed.  Yuvraj was struggling with injury, not middling the ball and runs were not exactly coming.

The Indian fan felt distraught with India needing 39 off mere 18 .. the only hope was Virat Kohli, standing like a rock, stroking like a champion.

The 18th over bowled by James Faulkner proved decisive.  Delivery no. 1 – short, pulled for a 4, great timing.   17.2 – a great square drive this time for 4; third, Kohli stepped out lofted through the line for a beauty hit 6.  4th they ran 2; 5th was a leg-bye and 6th milked another 2. 

Those 19 runs tilted the balance – yet some major work remained. 20 off 12 is no easy.  Dhoni seen with a trouble – Andrew Leipus who had earlier run into the field for attending to Yuvraj was at the centre again. 

Coulter-Nile bowed a dot ball; 2nd beautifully square driven for 4;  3rd was poor – on the leg – a gifted 4; 4th Kohli toyed, stepped out lofted over extra cover.  Last ball another 4 and now every one know, who the winner and how the Master has crafted that great win, which will be talked for long. 

16 off that and only 4 needed, which Dhoni finished inn style over wide long on – only a 4 off Faulkner and not a 6. 

The hero undoubtedly is Virat Kohli 82 off 51 – 9 fours and 2 sixers – strike rate of 160.78 – what an innings ! – in the end it was that glorious display of Kohli and the great running between the wickets between him and Dhoni.   Ashish Nehra bowled really well, returning figures of 4-0-20-1.

Happy Indian fan  – S. Sampathkumar

27th Mar 2016 @ 11.05 pm.

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