The pressure of a chase, for normal human beings, you know the people who need to breathe in oxygen and eat food and drink water to survive, is the most difficult thing in cricket. For Virat Kohli, the pressure of a chase is like a stroll in the park, with hands in pockets and a whistle on the lips.
Kohli has guided India to victory in quite a few run chases in the past, be that in ODI cricket or T20 internationals. But nothing, and this is without a shadow of a doubt, comes close to this knock from Kohli. His 82 from 51 balls, filled with nine fours and two sixes, was an innings of precision, class and that indescribable wonderment, the kind of feeling only the true greats can invoke.
"The support was unbelievable, they help you push through those tough times, as I said this is what you play cricket for," Kohli said at the man of the match ceremony. "You don't like these situations too much, they challenge you as a cricketer, but I am a little overwhelmed right now, lost for words.
"This innings is in the top three, probably in the top now. Against Australia, a top team, there was a lot riding on this, a quarterfinal, the crowd wants us to win, we are playing at home. So, yeah, this was great.
"Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and I strung a good partnership and then MS (Dhoni) helped me out as well, he kept me calm. I could have gotten a little overexcited, but he kept me calm and I think it was a great team batting effort."
Nope, Virat, it wasn't. It was a one-man batting effort.
Staring down the barrel, as India kept falling behind the required run rate in the chase, only one thing actually seemed to believe India would cruise this match – the win predictor that keeps popping up every now and again in front of the television screens. No matter what the equation, no matter what the required run rate, the win predictor stayed with India as the favourites, and by some margin too.
It knew, you know, as long as Kohli was there, there was no way India were going to lose; just plain no way. Not even when India needed 39 runs from 18 balls, with Australia's best death bowler having two overs to go; nope, as long as Kohli was at the crease, India were going to win.
The game turned in the 18th over of the match, bowled by the man of the match from Australia's last game – James Faulkner. Needing 39 runs from the last three overs to stay in this ICC Cricket World T20, it was all on Kohli and MS Dhoni -- the ridiculous aspect of their unbeaten 67-run partnership was that, the India skipper did very little with the bat in that alliance, just plenty with his legs, running those twos.
Kohli hardly took a risk in this innings, and when India needed to score at 13 runs an over, you would have expected those big-risk shots to come in to play. Nope, Kohli just played to his field, made sure he hit the ball off the middle of the bat and hit it exactly where he wanted to – great players can do that, and they make it look so simple. Faulkner, Australia's best death bowler, could do nothing as Kohli surgically cut him apart, notching 19 runs in the over to take it to 20 from 12 balls.
From there and with Kohli in this kind of mood, there was only ever going to be one result – Dhoni hitting the winning runs and Kohli getting all the plaudits for that ridiculous, just plain ridiculous, knock.