Kohli comforts Indians with nostalgia before the final over tragedy.
Kohli comforts Indians with nostalgia before the final over tragedy. As they often do when Virat Kohli walks out to bat or gets close to a milestone, the crowd stood up. They wanted a better look at him. Then, Kohli hit a 150 km/h thunderbolt from Pakistani pacer Mohammad Hasnain over the midwicket boundary for a six, bringing up his fifty. People in the stands fought over the ball. They didn’t want to throw it back because it felt like they had a fragment of Kohli in their hands. It was the classy six for Kohli – seen after what felt like ages. The mark of Kohli was all over that stroke. A valuable piece of his past had found its way into the present.
Mixed feelings for Indians
Still, fans of India had a mixed day. They were happy that their beloved King Kohli was back to his old self, but they couldn’t celebrate India’s win. India reached 181 for seven thanks to Kohli’s 60 off 44 balls, but that wasn’t enough to stop Pakistan, who won by five wickets with one ball to spare. Most likely, the two teams will play each other again in the Asia Cup final on Sunday. The score in this tournament is 1-1, and India-Pakistan cricket fans will likely go crazy again next weekend. Back to Sunday’s game, Pakistan shocked India by moving Mohammad Nawaz up to No. 4. In the middle overs, he and Mohammad Rizwan scored 42 runs off 20 balls, which changed the game.
A New Kohli
Fans of Kohli, on the other hand, could get a good look at their hero. But there was something new about the man that evening. When was the last time Kohli was as calm as he is in this Asia Cup? Smiling, winking, chatting with players in the dugout, chirping happily with opponents, entertaining the crowd, and generally looking at ease. No one’s veins popped, and no one screamed when someone got a catch.
Even when he hit that swat-flick and raised his fifty, he had a beautiful smile on his face. As a single thing, the stroke has a lot of value. Kohli just moved a little to the off-side and whipped the ball away with a fierce move of his wrists. The sound showed how clean the shot was long before you could see where it was going. This shot showed what Kohli is like in limited-overs cricket.
That Sunday, every shot he pursued looked strategic. There were few defensive pushes. Sometimes, his front foot would step out, he wouldn’t stop his shots but finish his follow-through, and he would jump out of the crease, spin on his heels, and run. Reminded us of how to do “running between the wickets” right, didn’t he?
Deepak Hooda’s Praise
Deepak Hooda could say what Kohli was trying to do. After Kohli hit the ball to square leg, Hooda, who had just come to the crease, wasn’t sure if he should run or not. But when he turned around, Kohli was well into his second and waving wildly at him to run.
Perfect T20 Knock for Kohli
It was also the perfect T20 knock for Kohli, in which he played both the aggressor and the anchor roles. He is the middle ground that doesn’t go too far in either direction. When Shadab Khan’s shot was a little too short, he smashed it through midwicket. Not too long ago, he would have just pushed or nudged it around the corner.
In the same way, he was terrific at anything short, fast, or spinny. Hasnain tried to bump him, but Kohli just waited for the ball to swivel-pull. But Kohli then switched back to “tip and run” singles and let Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, and Rishab Pant take on the role of the aggressor. Here, Kohli put his ego aside. He was in good form. But he didn’t try to change who he was. But on Sunday, Surya, Hardik, Pant, and Hooda could not give the final push.
The coach Rahul Dravid had emphasized on the eve of the match: “For those outside, it is about his (Kohli’s) numbers, runs and stats. But for us it is about the contributions he can make in different situations, what role he is required to play for the team. It does not have to always be a 50 or a 100, or a big statistic. Even small contributions mean a lot for us. That said, he is a big player and would be keen on putting in some big performances.”