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The Big Six

First scratchy, then majestic – a Virat Kohli masterclass

India captain Virat Kohli celebrates after taking India home with a marvellous 50-ball 94*
by Rishad D'Souza 4 minute read

Having scored 207-5, West Indies looked favourites to win the T20I opener on Friday in Hyderabad.

The bowlers then did well to contain India in the first half of the chase, but things changed rapidly when Virat Kohli found his rhythm to post a magnificent 50-ball 94*, helping India home with six wickets to spare. Rishad D’Souza picks out six deliveries that tell the story of the day.


Early intent

0.3, Washington Sundar to Evin Lewis, SIX

Evin Lewis loves playing T20Is against India – he’s scored both his hundreds in the format against them –and he didn’t take long to find his feet. Lewis fiercely pulled the second ball of the innings, from off-spinner Washington Sundar, for four. The next ball was just a touch short again and Lewis didn’t need a second invitation as he rocked back and disdainfully pulled that over deep square-leg for six! He struck three more sixes and two more fours in his 17-ball innings, which brought him 40 runs.

A Test-match dismissal

1.2, Lendl Simmons c Rohit Sharma b Deepak Chahar, 2 (4)

Deepak Chahar does with the white ball what others do with the red – get it to hoop around in the early overs. His dismissal off Lendl Simmons could’ve been straight out of a Test match. He pitched it on a good length and got it to swing away with the batsman feeling for it tentatively, only to get an edge to Rohit Sharma at first slip. It wasn’t to be Chahar’s day, however, as Lewis took him apart for 19 runs in his next over, and the seamer finished with unenviable figures of 1-56.

Hetmyer brings up fifty in style

15.3, Yuzvendra Chahal to Shimron Hetmyer, SIX

There wasn’t too much respite for India after Lewis was dismissed, as Shimron Hetmyer took the mantle from there. He didn’t score quite as quickly, leaving the insanely big shots for Kieron Pollard, who his four sixes in his 19-ball 37, but ensured he was going at a quick enough nick. He brought up his fifty in style, advancing down the track to Yuzvendra Chahal to hit him over long-off.  He was dismissed for 56, but his knock was crucial to West Indies scoring over 200.

A hat-trick of drops

16.3, Deepak Chahar to Kieron Pollard, six

India’s fielding in the back end of the first innings was comically sloppy. Nothing epitomised this better than three successive drops off  Chahar’s bowling in the 17th over. First Sundar let one go at long-off after making a good amount of ground to try and catch Hetmyer out. Rohit Sharma then got a tough chance at deep mid-wicket and although he got a hand to it, he couldn’t quite hold on to take the catch. The next chance was a straightforward one in the same region as Pollard tried to clear the fence once again, but the ball just burst through Rohit’s hands and went for six instead.

Virat Kohli, not quite himself

11.1, Jason Holder to Virat Kohli, no run

It’s rare to see Virat Kohli mistiming the ball, but in early half of his innings today he just didn’t look the part. He went at the ball hard and seemed to have left his otherwise impeccable timing in the dressing room. After his first 23 balls, he had scored 26 runs and the two boundaries he had hit until that point didn’t scream perfection. The frustration told on the Indian captain when off his 24th ball he tried to play a scoop off Jason Holder – a shot very unlike him – and missed to get hit on the thigh. The asking rate at that point had surged to around 12.5, and it looked West Indies’ game to lose.

Virat Kohli, the best version of himself

15.3, Kesrick Williams to Virat Kohli, SIX

And just like that, something ticked, and Kohli came into his own. It wasn’t a gradual process of working himself back into rhythm – there wasn’t any time for that. It was abrupt and sudden. The first signs came in the 12th over itself, when he hit Jason Holder for six and a four off successive balls. When he played a lofted drive off the same bowler in the 14th over, sending it over long-off for six to reach his fifty, one knew Kohli had arrived.

But the best was yet to come. Williams, with whom Kohli was involved in a bit of a verbal battle, overpitched the third ball of the 16th over. Kohli’s eyes lit up and with a swift whip of his wrists, he sent the ball soaring over deep midwicket. It was at that exact moment that it became evident the Kohli was going to win this game for India. He brought the chase to a close with a glorious lofted drive over long-off to finish his innings at 94 off 50 balls even as India got home with eight balls to spare. KL Rahul played his part in the chase with a superb 40-ball 62, but Kohli’s innings made his efforts seem almost pedestrian.

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