We can mirror our emotions in the words of Robert H. Schuller, “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat: Virat Kohli, take a bow.
Battered, bruised, but still not beaten
There was no way I could have imagined how many keyboard warriors jumped on Virat’s bandwagon when he hit a rough patch. Shunning it away with a sardonic look on his face, he detonated his emotions with subdued celebrations all along.
With an innings of a lifetime, he silenced the naysayers who had lingering concerns and were skeptical after just a remarkable run of form since the Asia Cup. A chapter in history will be written about this. “Sunday the king’s play,” Ronaldo foresaw.
Chasing a total that required eight runs per over while facing Pakistan’s daunting pace attack at the MCG, talk about pressure.
The Pakistani bowlers were on top of their game when they snatched four early wickets as India struggled to 31 for the loss of four wickets in the powerplay. The all-rounder Hardik joined Virat who was standing firm. In the face of the collapse, the duo batted through as the required run rate kept crawling along.
Virat Kohli defied the laws of chasing against Pakistan
The way we have done it in the past was to take it deep and take calculated risks to keep ourselves in the game. Having to score 48 runs off the last three, the king rose to the occasion.
Pakistan were taken aback by Virat’s acceleration as he faced their best bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi. He scored 17 runs off that over, nevertheless, it was not the talking point or game changer that put a smile back on our faces; it was the passionate punch in the air.
We saw an odd reaction from Hardik after he failed to maximum on a delivery, which was followed by a single that put Virat on strike. The tension was palpable with 28 needed off 8.
A physics-defying shot over the bowler’s head catapulted us back to Mohali, where Faulkner faced something similar. Another six from a short bowler provoked both dread and relief on either side of the world.
Nawaz was kept to the end yet again, and he took a wicket off his first delivery. In a rare situation where Hardik did not peak, the finisher DK was put on strike, and he put the man of the moment back on it with a single down to long on. A six off a waist-high ball, followed by a wide and three bye runs, had the scriptwriter shaking as he wrote the climax.
Dk was stumped out with 2 of 2 required as Ravi Ashwin had the opportunity to finish it off. Nawaz bowled one down the leg side and an extra, making things simpler for Ashwin, who struck the winning runs. Ashwin may have paid off his debts for his final over against the same team in 2014.
In retrospect, this game was full of redemption stories, but the one that would sell newspapers is Virat’s 53-ball 82. No one taller than the last man standing, and if it wasn’t already apparent, the king has arrived.
Genius to be able to perform the Houdini feat given the magnitude of the situation. Change is the only constant, unless it’s Virat Kohli playing against Pakistan in a World Cup match.