MOHALI: India qualified for the World Twenty20 semi-finals and knocked out Australia after Virat Kohli smashed a brilliant unbeaten 82 in their do-or-die showdown here on Sunday.
Kohli’s powerful 51-ball knock propelled India to a six-wicket victory, successfully chasing down Australia’s 160-6 total and keeping their World T20 title dreams alive.
India now face the West Indies in a semi-final encounter in Mumbai on Thursday, despite the Caribbean side suffering their first loss in this tournament to underdogs Afghanistan earlier on Sunday.
England play New Zealand in the other semi-final in New Delhi on Wednesday, before the final showdown at Kolkata’s Eden Garden on Sunday.
Australia’s hopes of winning their first World T20 trophy are once again in tatters, with the top-ranked Test side now bowing out of the tournament.
Chasing Australia’s challenging total, India had looked down and out at 94-4 but Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18 not out) put on 67 runs to take the team to the finish line.
The 27-year-old Kohli planned his knock to perfection, mixing caution with aggression to smash two sixes and nine fours in a pressure-cooker atmosphere at the packed Punjab Cricket Association ground.
“This innings has to be in my top three, perhaps the top right now because I’m a bit emotional,” Kohli, named man of the match, said.
Dhoni hit the winning four with five balls to spare to trigger wild celebrations in the stands.
Shane Watson’s international career ended in disappointment although the retiring Australian all-rounder did well to grab two key wickets and a spectacular running catch.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2016