Dubai: Virat Kohli says he feels at home when he plays in Adelaide after another match-winning knock against Bangladesh in the Twenty20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday. Rain also played a big role as otherwise Bangladesh opener Litton Das, who was in ominous form, could have taken the match away from the Men in Blue.
Kohli, who has been in stunning form after scoring his third half-century in four games that includes three not outs said; “As soon as I knew the World Cup was in Australia, I was grinning from ear to ear. I knew good cricketing shots would be the key and my experience and game awareness of having played in Australia will come in handy for the team. I absolutely love playing on this ground. As soon as I enter, it makes me feel at home. That knock at MCG was meant to be, but when I come here, it’s like I’m meant to come to Adelaide and enjoy my batting,” Kohli told the official broadcasters after collecting the man of the match award for his unbeaten 64.
Kohli's T20 World Cup record
Kohli walked in at a difficult situation and forged three useful partnerships with KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin towards the end of the innings. The senior partner played second fiddle to both Rahul and Suryakumar and after India lost three wickets in the final five overs, Kohli went on the rampage, shifting gears at the right time and added an invaluable 27 runs in 11 balls with Ravichandran Ashwin (13 not out) to take India to a challenging 184 for six in 20 overs.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, who always backed Kohli when he was going through a lean patch, said: “In my mind, Kohli was always there. It was just a matter of few innings here and there, and he hasn’t looked back since the Asia Cup. The guy has so much experience.”
Kohli, who became the highest scorer in Twenty20 World Cup, surpassing Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene, has put that experience to good use by leading India to victory over Pakistan and forming a great partnership with Suryakumar during India’s win over Netherlands and then in this match.
Chasing a stiff target, Das stunned the Indian attack with scintillating shots to take the Tigers to 66 for no loss in seven overs when rain stopped play. The interruption halted his momentum and allowed India to regroup and after the break, they got the prized wicket of Das, a superb run out from deep by Rahul.
Strong come back
Bangladesh lost their way after the untimely wicket of Das and subsequently that of fellow opener Najmal Shanto. Despite wickets falling in a heap, the Tigers kept coming back strongly and just fell short by five runs.
The biggest difference in the Indian team after the break was the fielding. Das was dropped by Dinesh Karthik when the opener was 27 and that gave Bangladesh the momentum. On resumption, Indian fielders didn’t miss a chance and were spot on with their fielding on a slippery surface and that put the pressure on Bangladesh.
Arshdeep Singh once again proved his skills by coming back strongly in the second spell with two wickets and defended the runs while bowling the final over. Hardik Pandya also chipped in with two wickets.
“Shortened games can go either way, but we held our nerves well after the game restarted. It was a good win in the end. With Bumrah not there, it was a tough job for someone to take up. It was a choice between Shami and Arshdeep. We’ve prepared Arshdeep for the death-over job and he’s been doing it for 8-9 months. I had to back someone who had been doing it regularly,” a relieved Rohit Sharma added.
Bangladesh skipper Shaikh Al Hasan, who played the mind games ahead of the contest saying India are here to win the World Cup, while they are not, led his young side remarkably and the Tigers always bring their best out against India.
“It’s been the story when we play India. We’re almost there but don’t cross the line,” Shakib said, referring to the one-run loss they suffered at the hand of India when they met last time in Bengaluru. “It was a great game. Litton is batting really well, probably he’s our best batsman going around. We thought we could chase this down after that start. Our plan was to get India’s top order quickly, that’s why I bowled out Taskin, he’s been our main bowler. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get wickets today, he was unlucky but it was a plan to get India’s top order out to dictate the game. We’re positive, we wanted to enjoy this World Cup, hopefully we can continue this.”
The victory has taken India to the top of the table with six points from four games, which has strengthened the team’s chances of a place in the last four. Barring a defeat against Zimbabwe, even a wash out will take India into the semi-finals.