Flamboyant Kohli downs Australia as India qualify for semi-finals
India 161-4 (Kohli 82no) beat
Australia 160-6 (Finch 43) by six wickets
31st Match, Super 10 Group 2, ICC World Twenty20, Mohali
A belligerent unbeaten knock of 82 from Virat Kohli helped India chase down a target of 161 runs to secure a semi-final berth in the ICC World Twenty20 with a crucial six-wicket win over Australia in the Super 10 Group 2 encounter of the tournament in Mohali.
Earlier in the day, after a fantastic start, Australia were restricted to 160 for six in 20 overs with Aaron Finch top scoring with 43 runs.
Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. Both the teams fielded unchanged sides.
Usman Khawaja (26) gave Australia yet another terrific start, hitting five boundaries in the first two overs, including four from Jasprit Bumrah’s (1-32) first over.
Nehra conceded 10 runs in the third over while Ravichandran Ashwin (1-31) was taken apart for 22 runs in his first over with Finch (43) smashing two back to back sixes.
In the fifth over, Nehra had Khawaja caught behind as Australia ended up with 59 for one after the powerplay.
India continued to peg back with Ashwin getting David Warner (6) stumped with a lovely away turning delivery.
Yuvraj Singh (1-19) was brought for the first time in the tournament in the 10th over and he managed to dismiss Steven Smith (2), having him caught behind. India tightened the screws further by hitting the right areas.
Finch broke the pressure with a boundary but was out in the next delivery, holing out to deep midwicket off Hardik Pandya (2-36).
Australia were 114 for four after 15 overs but Glenn Maxwell (31) shifted gears and smacked Ravindra Jadeja (0-20) for a four and a six in the 16th over.
Maxwell was castled in the 17th over by Bumrah and India gave away just 13 runs in the next two overs.
However, Shane Watson (18 not out) and Peter Nevill (10 not out) combined to score 15 runs in the last over to push Australia to 160 for six.
Shikhar Dhawan (13) started India’s chase well with a four and a six in the first three overs but fell in the fourth whereas Watson (2-23) breached Rohit Sharma’s (12) defences in the sixth over.
India ended up with 37 for two in the powerplay. Suresh Raina (10) too failed to make any substantial contribution as he gloved a Watson delivery through to the keeper in the eighth over.
Kohli (82 not out), who started well with two fours early in the innings, began to consolidate along with Singh (21) and took India to 65 for three in 10 overs.
Kohli and Singh smashed a six each in the 12th and 13th overs respectively while posting a 45-run stand. Thanks to a superb catch from Watson in the covers, Singh was dismissed off the bowling of James Faulkner (1-35) in the 14th over.
With five overs left, India needed 59 runs with six wickets in hand. As MS Dhoni (18 not out) started settling down at one end, Kohli breezed past a 39-ball fifty and began to shift gears quickly, smacking two fours and a six in the 18th over, leaving India to get 20 runs from 12 balls.
16 runs came in the penultimate over as Kohli trashed a clueless Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-33) for four boundaries, while Dhoni struck the winning runs with a four down the ground in the final over.
India beat Australia by six wickets to secure a semi-final berth. Kohli’s unbeaten innings fetched him the man of the match award.
India will now play West Indies in the second semi-final on 31st March in Mumbai.
© Cricket World 2016