Virat Kohli, minutes after masterfully powering India into the World T20 semi-final, credited the thrilling six-wicket win over Australia on Sunday to “a wonderful team batting effort.” He added that his 82* against Aussies is among his ‘top three’ innings. (India enter World T20 semifinals after win over Australia)
And for its “positive energy” and “electrifying atmosphere,” Kohli also thanked the crowd at Mohali, that chanted his name as he took control of the match in the 18th over by James Faulkner, scoring 14 runs with two fours and a six. And then never letting go. (World T20: Virat Kohli’s Willingness to Face Challenges Sets Him Apart, Says Mahendra Singh Dhoni)
“I would like to thank the crowd, it was unbelievable, the support helps you push through those tough times. You need challenges in every game, they improve you as a cricketers…I don’t know what to say, I am overwhelmed by,” said the 27-year-old player of the match. (Virat Kohli Era Has Started, He is The New Sachin Tendulkar: Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag)
“This innings has to be in my top three, perhaps the top right now, because I’m a bit emotional.”
Needing a win against Australia and chasing 161 on a tricky Mohali pitch, the Men in Blue were reduced to 49/3 at one stage, after India’s openers failed to fire.
Yuvraj Singh struggled with a twisted ankle before getting out with India at 94/4. Kohli took charge as he has frequently done in the recent past studding his 51-ball 82* innings with two sixes and nine fours.
The winning runs were scored by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who heaved the first ball of the 20th over, a full toss served by Faulkner, at long-on for a four. But for most part, the skipper watched Kohli’s glorious innings from the non-striker’s end.
“Yuvi had a good partnership and then MS kept me calm … We have always run well, we have an understanding, that’s why you train in the gym, you have those fitness regimes, that paid off today,” Kohli said.
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 27, 2016
Before the match, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag told NDTV that the Kohli era has started.
“I think that the Virat Kohli era has dawned over the last year or so. It’s been there ever since he took over the Test captaincy and because he is now going to create a completely different niche as far as Indian cricket is concerned,” Gavaskar said.
“I think this era of India cricket is going to be a highly entertaining era.”
Sehwag went a step further to say that he is the next Sachin Tensulkar. “Yeah, absolutely because I said on-air that he’ll become the next Sachin Tendulkar of Indian team because when I was growing up I watched Tendulkar. Similarly Tendulkar watched Sunil Gavaskar,” he said.
“So everyone said that Kya Tujhe Sachin Banna Hai?….Kya tujhe Gavaskar Banna hai?..and now everyone will say that Kya tujhe Kohli Banna hai? … so he comes in that era now,” he said.
‘Best limited-overs batsman’
After the match Gavaskar’s praise for Kohli only increased. “Virat gave more than 100 per cent against Australia to take India into semifinals. I haven’t seen anybody as composed as Virat Kohli under pressure. He is beyond phenomenal. He is the best limited overs batsman” he told NDTV.