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Cricket news - Kohli 94* helps India overturn WI's 207/5

Kohli (94 not out) and Rahul (62) scored 100 for the second wicket as India sealed a six-wicket win

Kohli (94 not out) and Rahul (62) scored 100 for the second wicket as India sealed a six-wicket win

Inadvertently or not, West Indies players (and even the square leg umpire at one point) irked Virat Kohli to such an extent, that he harnessed all his pent-up frustration into a match-turning knock (94 not out off 50 balls) as India went 1-0 up in Hyderabad. Evin Lewis's early effort (40 off 17 balls) and Shimron Hetmyer's assault (56 off 41) took West Indies past the 200-run mark, but it stood nullified thanks to KL Rahul's speedy half-century. Kohli overcame a shaky start, recovered his timing and signed off with a fired-up celebration, thumping his glove on his name on the back of his jersey.

There were two Kohli's out there?

Indeed.

The first one was where he struggled to hit the ball with the middle of his bat, mistimed his pull shot, took his eyes off the ball while hooking, got upset when the square leg umpire did not call a waist-high no-ball against him and was in general in a very confrontational mood. At the halfway stage of the big chase, India didn't have the upper hand still (at 89/1) despite KL Rahul's 46* off 30 balls because Kohli could only get a run-a-ball 20. The next 20 though came off 11 balls.

What happened next?

Rahul hit a Kharry Pierre delivery straight to Kieron Pollard at long off for 62 off 40 to give West Indies a chance for a comeback. And then came the turning point delivery ...

Describe?

The first ball off the 15th over was as big a warning signal for West Indies as there could be. It was perhaps the moment from when Kohli managed to maintain his shape and rely on his strength - of timing - than trying to slog, which would have felt necessary considering the asking rate was alarmingly high. Pollard unfurled a slower ball, but Kohli saw it from a distance and drove it over long-off for a six. It was almost like a switch labelled 'timing' had just been flicked on because from here on, there was not a single unconvincing stroke from his bat.

There was a notebook celebration. What was that about?

In the over right after he hit THAT six off Pollard, Kohli went after Keserick Williams. First ball, attempted yorker was smashed back over his head for a four, then a trademark whip courtesy bottom hand strength - another yorker-length ball disdainfully dispatched over wide long-on. The celebration - like he was signing a notebook - came right after this audacious hit, which he'd later reveal was a little payback as Williams had indulged in it after getting him out in Jamaica on India's tour of West Indies in 2017.

How did the rest of the chase pan out?

Fairly straightforward, even as Sheldon Cottrell bowled an exceptional 17th over. He conceded just five runs and dismissed Pant but Kohli recouped the loss there in the following over from Kieron Pollard. The West Indies captain, who also irked Kohli by pulling out of his run-up at the last minute, dismissed Shreyas Iyer but was at the receiving end of another bottom-handed flick from Kohli. 11 came off the over to reduce the equation to 15 off the last two overs.

Kohli smashed two more sixes - powered purely through the gift of his timing - and wrapped up the chase with eight balls to spare.

West Indies must have some batting takeaways from this game?

Definitely.

Their 10th spot in the rankings is insignificant because they bring to the table one of the best approaches to the format around the world. Evin Lewis cashed in on India's tendency to bowl a little shorter to him, even after Deepak Chahar found success with a full ball that swung away from the right-hander. Chahar's second over fetched 19 runs as Lewis and Brandon King moved on swiftly from an early setback. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Washington Sundar too bowled short, as West Indies peeled off 66 in the PowerPlay overs.

Could India pull things back after the first six overs?

Not quite.

Kohli unleashed Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal but not with much restrictive success. West Indies raced away to 101 for 2 at the halfway stage. Even as wickets fell, West Indies managed to maintain their high scoring rate, thanks to Shimron Hetmyer's onslaught. To compound their woes, India were rather sloppy on the field, even missing half-chances that they should've definitely grabbed onto. The last six overs fetched 66 runs, including a 17-run 18th and 17-run 20th over.

Brief Scores: West Indies 207/5 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 94*, KL Rahul 62; Kharry Pierre 2-44) lost to India 209/4 in 18.4 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 56, Evin Lewis 40; Yuzvendra Chahal 2-36) by 6 wickets.

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