Kohli-KL Krash Kesrick's Party

A potentially historic run chase requires the best chaser in cricket, and who else but Kohli for that job?

Kohli celebrates after winning the game. Credits: Outlook

The Windies batsmen had kicked the series off in style, putting up a healthy total of 206 runs which would've taken some serious chasing to prevail over. KL and Rohit had both proven themselves to be tough customers in t20 cricket, but this was going to be a real test- if successful, it would be India's highest run chase ever in the format.

Very early in the innings, Rohit sprained his hand trying to pull a ball away, only to misread it and get wrapped in the arms instead. Ever since that early setback, he could never get going, eventually ending his painful but short stay at the crease in the third over. KL, au contraire, had started off quite well.

While he went berserk on one end, Kohli was woefully out of sorts on the other. The first delivery he faced whizzed past him and apparently, it had rattled him so much that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't bat on the ball in a meaningful way for a while. He trudged along to 20 off 20, and though KL was striking it well enough to keep the required run rate in touch, soon he perished as well, having scored 62 runs at a brisk pace.

Till now, Virat had mistimed a ball for a six over the keeper's head, almost chopped the ball onto his own stumps, fought with Kesrick Williams, and fought with the umpire but he still hadn't been able to show anything that indicated this would be yet another Kohli masterclass that ends in a successful run chase.

With KL gone, the stage was now his. The crowd had already been mesmerised by him most of the night, chanting his name at every opportunity they got- he now needed to give them a show worth their money. With 69 runs needed from the last six overs, a switch flipped within him.

Suddenly, it was vintage Virat yet again. Kesrick steams in and bowls a full toss which he obliges and smacks straight down the boundary. The next ball is sent over the mid-wicket and into the stands, probably the most absurd shot played that night. Kohli gives Kesrick's infamous 'notebook signing' celebration back to him with interest.

The anger was evident in his shots. He had been angry with himself for not being able to put bat to ball earlier, but he also knew that he had plenty of scope to compensate. Pant, meanwhile, perished after an entertaining 18-run cameo, with his usual shot-making yielding two sixes that brought down the run-rate to almost nine an over.

Virat now just had to add the finishing touches to an already wonderful batting display. He hit his counterpart Pollard for a six and just stared emptily at him- knowing Kohli had him beaten, he didn't respond. Kesrick's already terrible night was about to get worse. First, he was hit over extra cover and then the game was sealed off with another one. His figures on the night read 60 for zero in 3.4 overs.

Kohli's final six led to a celebration that was a mixture of anger and relief in equal measure. After punching the air, he pointed toward his name on the back of his jersey, as if he was trying to remind everyone of who he was. However, he didn't need to point out that India had chased their highest-ever total in T20s and his contribution was almost half the entire total. Everyone knew who he was and what he was capable of, this was just another feather in his already overcrowded cap. Just four days later and 700 kilometres away, he'd outdo himself yet again.


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