Mohali: Virat Kohli smashed an unbelievable 82 not out as India pulled off an unlikely six-wicket victory against Australia in their Super 10 Group 2 match at Mohali on Sunday. With this win, India have also qualified for the semifinals. The hosts will face the West Indies in Thursday’s semifinal in Mumbai.
Earlier, the home bowlers came up with a disciplined effort to halt Australia’s fiery opening charge to restrict them to 160/6. Electing to bat after winning the toss, Australia showed great intent and killer instinct to set the stage on fire in front of a packed house and seemed well on course to a massive total before Ashish Nehra (1/20), Ravindra Jadeja (0/20) and part-time bowler Yuvraj Singh (1/19) applied the brakes.
The semis spot was on the line and it required some quick thinking from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who looked pensive as Australia raced to 50 in mere 3.4 overs, but kept searching for the right formula. Openers Usman Khawaja (26) and Aaron Finch (43) were in a murderous mood taking R. Ashwin (1/31 off two overs) and young Jasprit Bumrah (1/32) to the cleaners. Khawaja was extremely punishing on Bumrah picked up four boundaries in the pacer’s very first over while Finch slammed two huge sixes off Ashwin to take Australia to 53/0 in four overs.
Veteran pacer Nehra was going strong on the other end mixing the pace well and foxing the batsmen with guile, but with little support from the other end India kept leaking runs. Nehra brought about the breakthrough removing Khawaja off a fullish delivery (54/1) before Jadeja and Yuvraj made good use of the conditions to slow down Australia’s brisk scoring rate.
With David Warner (6) and Steve Smith (2) falling in quick succession, and Hardik Pandya (2/36) removing dangerman Finch with a short delivery, the hosts slowly found their way back.