Virat Kohli assault guides India to Semi-finals
A 51-ball 82 from Virat Kohli, helped India qualify for the Semi-Finals of the World T20, as they beat Australia by six wickets, with five balls to spare in Mohali on Sunday.
An inform, Kohli, with scores of 23, 55, 24 - in the competition came to the crease - in just the fourth over, after Shikhar Dhawan departed for 13 and his opening-partner, Rohit Sharma fell two-overs later.
Australia had posted 160, after Steven Smith had won the toss and opted to bat first on a sluggish Mohali track. India's top-order woes were compounded after Suresh Raina, struggling for form, departed for just ten runs in the eighth over.
His departures brought Yuvraj Singh and Kohli together and they set about rebuilding the innings, as India were still 112-runs adrift from a place in the semis, with 12 overs remaining.
The Kohli-Singh combine added 45 runs for the fourth wicket in 6.2 overs. The usually fluent duo found it difficult to find the boundary, as Shane Watson and Adam Zampa kept their scoring in check. When Singh departed in the 14th over, India needed 67 runs from 36 balls.
MS Dhoni and Kohli reduced that deficit to 39 from three overs, before Kohli cut loose against James Faulkner in the 18th over. He clubbed Faulkner for two fours and a six over, in an over which produced 19. The hosts required 20 runs from two overs.
Kohli was in no mood to hand over the advantage and thumped Nathan Counter-Nile for four fours in the 19th over to leave India with just four runs to get from the last over. Dhoni completed India's sixth consecutive T20I win against Australia.
Kohli, known for excelling in chases, has accumulated 918 runs in T20I run-chases, which is the second highest among all batsmen in the format. Against Australia, Kohli has scored 401 runs in nine innings, at an average of 66.83, with three not-outs.
"You need challenges in every game, they improve you as a cricketers," Kohli - the Star of the Match - said. "I don't know what to say, I am overwhelmed by … Yuvi had a good partnership and then MS kept me calm … We have always run well, we have an understanding, that's why you train in the gym, you have those fitness regimes, that paid off today. This innings has to be in my top three, perhaps the top right now because I'm a bit emotional."