While many cricketers crumble under pressure, Virat Kohli excels in such situations as was witnessed in the match against Australia, who were knocked out of the World T20 by Kohli's brilliance at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, Sunday. Even Australia skipper Steve Smith showered praise on Kohli after his masterful innings of 82 runs helped seal India's semifinals berth.
India, chasing 161 runs to win, were in all sorts of trouble at 49 for three wickets. Kohli was the only man who stood in Australia's way and a semifinal berth. The Delhi batsman used his willow to counter whatever was thrown at him by the Australian bowlers.
"That was a pretty serious innings," ESPNCricinfo quoted Smith as saying. "I thought we were in a pretty good position at one point there with them needing about two a ball.
"I thought 160 was about par on that wicket. It just took a seriously unbelievable innings under pressure from Virat Kohli to get his team over the line."
Kohli's innings, from whatever angle you look at, was batting of the highest calibre. It was not a pitch where runscoring was easy, with the ball not coming onto the bat. After analysing the pitch, Kohli decided it was better to run hard between the wickets and he did so brilliantly, converting ones into twos and hitting the boundaries when required.
The complexion of the game changed in the last three overs of the match when Kohli decided to cut loose, and take on the Australia bowlers. The pitch suddenly looked flat when Kohli hit those boundaries with ridiculous ease.
"The wicket was a little bit slow and the ball got chewed up pretty quick so it was quite soft, although it didn't look too soft when Virat was hitting it," Smith said.
"But it was tough to bat in those middle overs. I thought they timed their run chase really well in the end, they were running lots of twos and hitting the fielders in the outfield and putting pressure on. That's probably where the game sort of turned. They were able to get a lot of twos and put us under pressure."