“With this smashing boundary by Captain Cool team India has entered the semi-finals of the World Cup T20 2016!”
The heartbeats of all the cricket-fanatics of this nation, where cricket is treated as a religion, synced in a harmonic melody when Harsha Bhogle recited these words. We all know, the mob devotion to cricket has made it an immensely emotional viewing experience. Every fan waits for a win, biting their nails until the last ball. So what’s new in this particular match? Why such a fuss? Why are the walls of Facebook filled with the winning stratagems? The answers to these questions take us a year into the past. The events occurring before this match which made it such a memorable one beg to be mentioned.
It all started on 26th March 2015 when India lost 2nd semi-final of ICC World Cup of ODI format. Australia sprung up a huge total of 328 and India was thrashed at the score of 244, losing their winning streak. India was unbeaten till this battle. This created an unsettling reaction in the fan following of the country. Unlike his performance in the recent match, Kohli performed poorly and was written off with various accusations. For millions of fans, this match was revenge for that defeat in the ODI World Cup. And yes, it WAS best served cold.
Another thing that had set tempers ablaze was a tweet by Australian Retired Bowler Mitchell Johnson saying,
“Love it!! Went missing in WC semi last yr when it really counts”
He was referring to World Cup 2015 when Kohli was out on 1 (13) on a bouncer by Johnson. The exceptional knock of 82* (51) by Virat Kohli was his nonverbal answer to this tweet.
Coming to the match that set social media afire with the #bleedblue hashtag, Australia won the toss and elected to bat on the even surface of Mohali. They started off with a bang, scoring 59 runs in just 22 balls! But after the fall of Khwaja, India was able to bring the run rate under control and stopped Australian team at a score of 160. Kapil Dev applauded India’s bowling attack for the recovery with his tweet. Highest scorer was Aaron Finch with a contribution of 43 runs on the score board.
India started off on a bad note losing Dhawan, Sharma and Raina as early wickets. Yuvraj came up to bat at number four with Kohli at the other end. Both began slowly and steadily. Alas, disaster struck in the form of Yuvraj’s leg injury. Yuvraj showed tremendous dedication and continued playing despite being in pain. He got out on 20, after which MS Dhoni came on the crease.
At the other end, Kohli was raining boundary upon boundary after improving the run-rate. Unfortunately, India STILL needed the seemingly impossible run-rate of almost 13. But Virat Kohli, never one to give up, turned the match around and left everyone astounded. He switched into rocket mode and swung off a boundary in every second ball. With the Captain’s calming and gentle encouragement, he hit sixes and fours one after another. By getting 19 runs out of an over, he brought the required run-rate down to an easy 6.
As always Dhoni got the winning shot by scoring a boundary off the first ball of the last over. Kohli completed his inning with a responsible score of 82 runs which helped India to move into the semi-finals from this highly anticipated and critical match. He won the well-deserved title of ‘Man of the Match’.
India will take down the West Indies in the semi-finals. The match was electrifying which can be seen from the amount of posts and tweets recorded after match sessions. #viratkohli hashtag turned into the second highest trending post one hour after the match. It wasn’t the biggest match of WC 2016 but it sure has given Virat Kohli another feather in this cap.