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Kohli’s 80*, Tricolor, Sea of Blue Grab Eyeballs as India Beat Australia in Mohali to Qualify for Semi Finals

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Kohli’s 80*, Tricolor, Sea of Blue Grab Eyeballs as India Beat Australia in Mohali to Qualify for Semi Finals

March 28
11:57 2016

mkohliNew Delhi, Monday, March 28 – When a match is scheduled between the heavyweights in India then pictures will be similar to what it had been on Sunday at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. Sea of blue and tricolors added a perfect gem to the entire scenario as the crowd was on its feet to back India since they were playing against Australia – the world-class side.

After shattering Bangladesh with 1-run win at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on March 23, the Men in Blue were all set for another tough fight given that Australians were in front of them. A match between India and the Aussies automatically grabs eyeballs and same happened a day ago when keen audience waited for it to start. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. It was likely for the reason that they know it very well that putting pressure on the host will be easy once a challenging total is put on the scoreboard.

Steven Smith, the young Australian skipper, had faith in his squad that included Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Peter Nevill, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood. A glimpse on the players is alone adequate to state how difficult it was going to be for Indians to get a ticket for the next round. They had to earn it, to cut a long story short. Mitchell Marsh, Andrew Tye, John Hastings and Ashton Agar were in extras.

Indian Playing XI included Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni – one of the  best captains, Hardik Pandya – who surprised everyone by bowling deliveries in India’s last over against Bangladesh that gave them three precious wickets and hope to come in top two in Super 10 round as this was important to proceed ahead – Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah. Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Shami, Pawan Negi and Ajinkya Rahane once again enjoyed all happenings of the contest while sitting on seats placed just near to boundary line.

With the seating capacity of 30,000, the ground was fully packed. There was hardly a place left to even think of temporary seating arrangements. People of all age groups geared up to enjoy an interesting fight between not only the powerhouses but also between bat and ball. Australia were in form right from the beginning when openers Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch began to show the ball a way towards the fences. Indian bowlers were made to feel the heat.  When first wicket fell in form of 29-year-old Khawaja, the Aussies were at 54 runs in just 4.2 overs. But Ashish Nehra gave India a breakthrough much sought at that stage. The Pakistani-born Australian cricketer had to depart at a score of 26 that came in 16 deliveries, including six boundaries.

The new batsman David Warner was more eager to go for big shots rather than converting ones into twos. This was noticed closely by the Indian captain. Ravichandran Ashwin did not disappoint Dhoni and bowled a delivery that went into the gloves of Dhoni who was quick as like always to take the bails off from the stumps when Warner went much far from the safe line. He contributed six runs off nine deliveries. Finch, on the other hand, continued to do his bit. Steven Smith was taken by surprise when lost his wicket to Yuvraj Singh after ball was caught behind post getting a slight edge of his bat. He was playing at a score of 2 and was willing to do what was expected from him. It was clear from his expressions that he is unhappy with umpire’s decision, which was right. Since the touch was so faint that Smith couldn’t even realize it.

Finch and Glenn Maxwell brought stability to Aussies innings, bringing the team back in game. The moment Australia reached at the mark of 100, wicket of the opener was taken by Hardik Pandya when he was playing at a score of 43 off 34 balls (4  x 3 and 6 x 2). Shikhar Dhawan took a catch that helped India shift pressure back. However, Maxwell carried on keeping the momentum up. Jasprit Bumrah sent him back in the dressing room at 31 runs (4 x 1 and 6 x 1). Australian fans did not get to see typical Maxwell but couldn’t pay no heed to the kind of important innings he played. Shane Watson, who recently proclaimed retirement from international cricket, was not out at 18 runs which comprised a couple of fours.

James Faulkner, the finisher in more than a few matches, was dismissed by Hardik Pandya at 10 runs thanks to a beautiful catch in deep by Kohli. Peter Nevill, the Australian wicket-keeper was not out at 10 runs that came in just balls. He hit a six and four to help Australia get 160 runs in 20 overs that seemed unachievable once travelers began to lose wicket. Pandya bowled an expensive last over that gave 50-50 chance to both teams to stay in the contest but managed to get two wickets. Except Jadeja, Nehra, Ashwin, Bumrah and Singh took one wicket each.

When it came to chasing, India lost three wickets early as Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina were out by Shane Watson at 12 runs (4 x 1) and 10 runs (4 x 1) and Shikhar Dhawan by Nathan Coulter-Nile at  13 runs (6 x 1 and 4 x 1). But Virat Kohli, who continues unbelievable play once again, made sure he is present unshaken by any kind of bowling at one end. Yuvraj Singh, though, gave his wicket to Shane Watson in James Faulkner’s over but it seemed correct as he was struggling to take singles. He hit 21 runs off 18 balls with a beautiful six and four.  Everyone was thinking who will be next to arrive on the crease and the crowd was elated to see Dhoni himself coming with a positive body language. He gave as much as strike to Kohli being a set batsman. The dynamic Delhi boy played an astonishing knock of  82 runs off 51 balls, together with nine boundaries and two sixes.

Dhoni looked in pain as well. Many were in sheer doubt whether Captain Cool will be able to stay till the end or will succumb to any Australian bowler. In pressure, Kohli performed outstandingly well in the 19th over. He hit four boundaries in Coulter-Niles’ over, sending Australia totally on the back foot. Just 4 runs were required in 6 balls. Dhoni was on the striking end and finished the game in his own style. The ball did not go for a six this time but it was a boundary that gave India a ticket to next round where they are to meet West Indies. Dhoni was not out at 18 runs which consisted of three boundaries. The road to victory in a game of Super 10 has led team India proceed in semi-finals. Kohli was given Man of the Match award for steering India to a place where they can think of being into the finals now.

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