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Dazzling Kohli keeps India’s hopes alive

February 28, 2012

Sometimes having your back against the walls pulls out the best from you. India came into the match with their goal being very clear. They needed a win and win that too a bonus point. India have been chasing and chasing soon after they have arrived to Australia. And thereon they have been chasing their own shadows of the times of their glory but could not catch up with it. India won the toss today. Yet they decided to have yet another chase. Yes, sometimes chasing turns out to be advantageous as you have a clear target in front of you, also at times when the D/L method comes into play and moreover when you are not only playing for a victory but a victory with a bonus point. Dhoni would not have wanted to chase more than a 260 or at max 270. But the sight we had from Hobart after India completed their 50 overs was something that had made many of the Indian supporters to leave their seats or turn their televisions off. Much to the courtesy Dilshan’s delightful innings and also a polished knock by their skipper himself had allowed the Lankans to set up a Himalayan score, 320 it is; which meant that to keep the hopes alive for this tournament India needed to go at a score of just more than 8 runs per over right from the outset.

That pushes them even more back into the wall. But that took out the aggression from them which they had not been showing. India came into bat with a lot of uncertainties. One of the 4 floodlights of the ground was not functioning. So there were such chances as well that the match might not on to 20 overs, yet the decision of choosing a winner had to be made. However that did not happen. The lights of that stand started of to come. With that much of pressure on their heads the Indian openers could go only one way and that’s what did they exactly do. Finally we could see the most destructive opening pair finally showing what they are actually capable of. Sehwag took the attack to the opposition soon, so as Tendulkar. It was the situation that what made them play that way, so at the end of the day the Indian fans might just feel that what happened in the earlier part of the day was the best what could have happened to get the Indians back on track.

Sehwag before getting out to a slow short ball played some extraordinary shots. One pull shot that went straight onto the grass banks is the one that his fans would remember for a long time. One can’t see very often him playing those pull shots, but if he can play those with that much of effect there is no reason why he should not do so. Tendulkar on the other hand had been not getting the big runs instead of having good starts throughout this tournament. But sometimes it is the game that leads you to the way that you should actually follow. Before getting very much across the line and missing a full length delivery of Malinga he also played some great shots down the ground, one of those just one or two balls back to his dismissal. Really did not quite understand his approach of dealing with those shots although having more than the shots in his book than the cricketing book actually has.

Still one can say that the platform provided by the openers was really something that exactly the doctor had ordered for them. Gambhir and Kohli, both of them having been in some sort of form in the series could take the advantage of it.Sri Lanka did not take the immediate bowling powerplay after been all over the place in the first ten. So the boundaries got dried up for the Indians. But there was hardly any time where the asking rate went beyond their control due to some great running between the wickets. These are really good signs for the Indian team that the every time they ran the ball down to the third man, or flicked of their legs to the fine leg, or playing the drives to the sweeper, whenever the ball went towards the outfield they backed themselves up with some excellent running between the wickets, diving for saving their wickets at times and that’s how they put a lot of pressure on the fielders in order to Convert many ones into twos. The left and right hand combination also came very worthy for the Indians. The hundred run partnership that they had put on was actually the first one for India in this series. It seems like these two enjoy their companies very well while batting together. Both the men from Delhi scored runs in a very good rate almost without taking any sort of risks. Although Gambhir departed from a great flat return throw on the bounce from the deep square leg, it does not take the credit away from this pair’s running between the wickets.

There onward it was all Kohli who simply looks to be outstanding every time when he has a target in front of him. Raina might have played his part really well and complemented his partner who was batting so well at the other end. But it was one man who had written the scripts for the rest of the night, it simply looked that he could do anything whatever he wants to do tonight. It might have been a flat pitch but still you have to put the bad balls away which has been lacking throughout the series from whole Indian batting. Not only doing that, the kind of shots he played, how he found the gaps in the field to perfection, the execution of the shots, the power he generated and in addition to this created some shots out of nothing. He started of innings with not the kind of in intend that one would have imagined that he is about to play the innings of his life. He has every right of celebrating in the way as he did after reaching his ton. And soon after what he did to Malinga was really something you will probably won’t come to see again. It just seemed like Malinga had no clue whatsoever where to bowl and all he could do after being hammered for a boundary every ball to go back towards his bowling crease.

Now as the series is set up, suddenly Sri Lanka can feel the heat on them. Instead of being on same points India go through to the finals if Sri Lanka loses the next match against the Australia as they are ahead from Sri Lanka as far as the head-to-head is concerned. They might still go through if they can win or manage to make a tie. But from hereon it’s all about pressure. Psychologically their will be down after this kind of a defeat, especially when their premium fast bowler having his nightmare. Can’t say who will meet the home team for the finals, whether India makes it or not, it has been by far one of their greatest chases of all time, and for the moment Kohli and company have every reason to celebrate this emphatic victory.

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