Kohli, Axar take India to 176/7 after poor powerplay

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Kohli, Axar take India to 176/7 after poor powerplay

Saturday, 29 June 2024 | PTI | Bridgetown

Kohli, Axar take India to 176/7 after poor powerplay

Virat Kohli was guarded in his approach while Axar Patel was the enforcer as India recovered from early jitters to post 176 for 7 against South Africa in the T20 World Cup final here on Saturday.

At 34 for three, India were staring at another batting failure in a big final before Axar (47 off 31) and Kohli (76 off 59) turned the tide for them.

Axar was run out in an unfortunate manner, completely against the run of play, which brought about an end to his 72-run partnership off 54 balls with Kohli. Kohli did slow down considerably in the middle overs to bring up his first 50 off the tournament with 48 balls.

Rohit Sharma (9) had no hesitation in batting first at Kensington Oval where the pitch has not been the easiest to bat on through the competition.

The Indian captain, coming from two back to back match winning efforts, departed early after collecting couple of consecutive fours off Keshav Maharaj in the second over of the game.

Maharaj responded well by having Rohit caught at square leg as the batter went for a sweep. Rohit and incoming batter Rishabh Pant both fell to the sweep shot.

The tension in the Indian camp increased when Suryakumar Yadav, who has also been in good touch like Rohit, was caught at fine-leg after not getting enough from his pick up shot off Rabada, leaving India with three down inside the powerplay.

At 45 for three in six overs, it was the slowest powerplay for India in the Caribbean leg.

Watching wickets tumble at the other end, Kohli, who hit three elegant boundaries off Marco Jansen in opening over of the final, shifted gears during the middle overs and let Axar come up with an odd boundary.

Such was the nature of Kohli’s knock that his first big hit after the powerplay, a straight six off Rabada, came in the 18th over

Axar, on the other hand, potentially played the innings of his T20 career and negotiated the South African spinners effectively, collecting a six each from Aiden Markram, Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi. However, the highlight of his special knock was the straight six through the line off Rabada.

Between 7-15 overs, India mustered 72 with the loss of Axar who fell to a direct hit from keeper Qunton de Kock at the non striker’s end. Kohli was pushing for a single off a rising ball from Rabada and de Kock with a clean one handed pick up, hit the bulls eye.

Shivam Dube (27 off 16), who came into the middle before the start of death overs, delivered a few timely blows to prop up the total.

Kohli also dropped anchor to smash a couple of sixes in the last five overs from which India collected 58 runs with the loss of three wickets.

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