Wow! This Virat Kohli was missing for quite some time in 2019. And he has arrived in style. The Indian captain just left the jam-packed crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in awe with his superb skills. The wrists were working overtime in the middle today as Kohli almost single-handedly dictated terms in the chase. His duel with Kesrick Williams rather brought the best out of the 31-year-old and Kohli loses not on many occasions.
As far as the game is concerned, India needed 208 runs to win the match and it would also have been their highest successful run-chase in the T20I. The start wasn’t as expected for the home side as Sheldon Cottrell troubled Rohit Sharma with the new ball. The pressure got to him and got out to Khary Pierre for just 8 runs.
However, KL Rahul didn’t get bogged down and played some brilliant strokes even as Virat Kohli literally struggled in trying to force the pace. Though the duo made sure that they didn’t throw their wicket. Just at the right time, they also started to eke out quick runs and the frustration grew as well with it. West Indies bowlers were varying their lengths well but when things heated up between Williams and Kohli, India started to come back in the game.
Kohli was frustrated for not middling anything until then and suddenly wanted to prove a point to the opposition. That majestic wrist work was at work yet again as he played some pleasing to the eye strokes. He also mocked Williams with his notebook celebration hilariously in the 16th over and was in complete control of himself by then.
While India, at one stage, was struggling to come to terms, they ended the chase with as many as 8 balls to spare. Rishabh Pant also had a decent day with the bat scoring 18 runs off just nine balls after Rahul got out for 62. The chase was sealed in the penultimate over of the day with a trade-mark Kohli six over extra cover.
West Indies make merry on a flat pitch
Earlier in the day, West Indies got off to a flying start after India opted to bowl first. Lendl Simmons got out early but Brandon King and Evin Lewis counterattacked superbly to leave the crowd stunned. It was an exhibition of some power-packed hitting from the duo. Lewis, especially, was at his best scoring 40 off just 17 balls with 3 fours and four sixes.
Shimron Hetmyer joined hands with King then and though the run-scoring came down a wee bit, the run-rate was already humongous. Ravindra Jadeja flummoxed King in the 11th over to give India their third wicket when the score was already 101. But Hetymer continued to smash the bowlers out of the park even as the hosts’ poor fielding helped the Caribbeans.
Hetmyer rode his luck to score his maiden T20I half-century and then Kieron Pollard also joined the party. Runs galore in Hyderabad on a flat pitch. India’s bowlers apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a bad day with the West Indies skipper smashing 37 off 19 deliveries while Holder also scored 24 off just nine balls.
West Indies didn’t get the expected final flourish but they still managed to cross the 200-run mark. They ended on 207 runs for the loss of five wickets after 20 overs. But Virat Kohli’s exceptional knock proved too much for the visitors as India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Inka time nahi, #ViratKohli ka yeh daur hai. Highest successful run chase for Team India and what a way to do it. Good contributions from KL Rahul and a good cameo from Pant. #IndvsWI pic.twitter.com/k0psdLQq64
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) December 6, 2019
— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) December 6, 2019
Loved the way KL Rahul batted. Have been his fan….always pleasing to see him bat in this fashion. Free flowing…. #IndvWI
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 6, 2019
Maybe not one of the most fluent n that makes this knock that much more special. One of the best I've seen Virat bat 🙌🙌🙌 #INDvsWI
— Deep Dasgupta (@DeepDasgupta7) December 6, 2019
— Parvinder Awana (@ParvinderAwana) December 6, 2019
— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) December 6, 2019
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) December 6, 2019
— Siddharth Kaul (@sidkaul22) December 6, 2019
India’s highest chase in T20 internationals .A masterclass from Virat Kohli , made to look so easy and finishing the job. Grwat contribution from KL Rahul in setting the platform. Congratulations Team India #INDvsWI pic.twitter.com/YHZP0rzuTC
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 6, 2019
The Virat Story again. Interesting to see the aggression today, reminded of a younger Kohli. Wonderful run chase with great contribution from Rahul and a great win for India #INDvsWI pic.twitter.com/GyBqbd6Ecz
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) December 6, 2019
🐐 for a reason.#INDvsWI
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) December 6, 2019
And that catch by @KieronPollard55 😮
— RIDHIMA PATHAK (@PathakRidhima) December 6, 2019
Amazing. Just amazing, @imVkohli
— Sir Vivian Richards (@ivivianrichards) December 6, 2019
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) December 6, 2019
— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) December 6, 2019
Most 75-plus knocks in international cricket:
168 – Sachin Tendulkar
112 – VIRAT KOHLI*
112 – Ricky Ponting
111 – Jacques Kallis #INDvsWI
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) December 6, 2019
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