Sport Cricket Aussies choke and bow out after Kohli brilliance
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Aussies choke and bow out after Kohli brilliance

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India hit five boundaries from their last six deliveries to come from the clouds and defeat Australia by six wickets in their do-or-die World Twenty20 clash in Mohali on Monday (AEST).

The equation was simple for both sides: win and reach the semi-finals or lose and be eliminated from the tournament.

Chasing 161 for victory in their final pool match, India looked gone when they needed 59 to win off five overs and 39 off three.

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But James Faulkner (1-35 off 3.1 overs) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-33 off four) were expensive when it counted as Virat Kohli’s stunning 82 not out from 51 balls dragged India over the line with five balls to spare.

Kohli begun the 18th over with two fours off Faulkner and added a six before he smashed Coulter-Nile for four boundaries in the 19th.

That left India with just four runs to win from the final over and captain MS Dhoni finished things off, hitting Faulkner’s low full toss to mid-wicket for a boundary to spark wild celebrations.

Nathan Coulter-Nile was dejected after his 19th over was so expensive. Photo: Getty
Nathan Coulter-Nile was dejected after his 19th over was so expensive. Photo: Getty

Australia bowled just four overs of spin in the clash and questions are sure to be asked why the country’s best tweaker – Nathan Lyon – was not included in the touring party after the tournament exit.

“It was a tough score,” Dhoni said post-match.

“After their first six overs, we bowled quite well.

“He (Kohli) has been playing brilliantly in the last two, three, or maybe four years. We have seen him evolve as a cricketer.

“He has kept improving. He is very hungry to score runs for the team and that’s what really counts.”

Australia captain Steve Smith paid tribute to Kohli after the cruel defeat.

“That was a pretty serious innings, that, under pressure. He just hit everything in the middle and found the gaps,” he said.

“He’s done it for a very long time and credit to him, he played beautifully again tonight.”

Asked if he could have bowled more overs of spin, Smith incorrectly said Adam Zampa (0-11 off two overs) delivered three.

“He could have bowled one more – he bowled three,” he added.

“I thought the quicks, bowling into the wicket with slower balls and things like that, were going to be the hardest to hit.

“It turned out not to be that way…Virat played an unbelievable knock to get them home.

India's heroes: Dhoni (L) and Kohli were too good. Photo: Getty
India’s heroes: Dhoni (L) and Kohli were too good. Photo: Getty

Australia’s total looked about 10 or 15 runs short when they posted 6-160 from their 20 overs.

Usman Khawaja (26) and Aaron Finch (43) gave them a lightning start, with the former hitting four fours in the second over.

And Finch chimed in with two sixes off Ravi Ashwin (1-31 off two overs) in the fourth over as Australia surged past 50.

Khawaja soon departed, caught behind, and David Warner (6) and Smith (2) fell cheaply.

But Victorians Finch (43) and Glenn Maxwell (31) dug in, and wicket-keeper Peter Nevill (10 not out) hit the final ball of the innings for six to get Australia to 160.

India’s case started cautiously and Coulter-Nile brought Australia early joy when he had Shikhar Dhawan caught at short fine leg for 13.

Shane Watson, in his last international match, was the pick of Australia’s bowlers with 2-23 off four and he added the wicket of Rohit Sharma (12) in the sixth to leave India at 2-37.

And when Watson had Suresh Raina (10) caught behind, India looked in serious trouble at 3-49 in the eighth.

But Yuvraj Singh (21) and Kohli (82) got to work, adding 45 runs in seven overs and setting the platform.

And Kohli did the rest, playing a truly wonderful hand to get his nation over the line.

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