World T20: Kohli's heroics go in vain as West Indies sink India

World T20: Kohli's heroics go in vain as West Indies sink India

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Lendl Simmons and Johnson Charles guided West Indies to a 7-wicket win over India as they chased down a daunting target of 193 runs at the Wankhede Stadium in the semis of the World T20. Virat Kohli scored 89 runs and picked up a crucial wicket in the match, but his heroics eventually went in vain.

Brief Scores: India 192/2 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 89(47), Rohit Sharma 43(31); Samuel Badree 1/26, Andre Russell 1/47) lost to West Indies 196/3 in 19.4 overs (Lendl Simmons 82*(51), Johnson Charles 52(36); Virat Kohli 1/15; Ashish Nehra 1/24) by seven wickets

Defending 192, the Indian bowlers made early inroads into the West Indies batting lineup. Jasprit Bumrah dislodged Chris Gayle's off stump with a low full toss, which swung back into the left-hander, while Marlon Samuels gifted his wicket to Ashish Nehra with a lousy shot. Samuels backed away from his stumps and tamely lobbed the ball to Ajinkya Rahane at cover.

West Indies were 19/2 at the end of the third over, and their target looked a long way away from them. However, the early wickets did not dampen Johnson Charles' spirit, and he started to counter-attack from the other end. Charles went after Bumrah and hit him for two consecutive boundaries. At the end of the powerplay, Lendl Simmons and Charles had guided their team to 44 runs.

In the seventh over, Bumrah took a stunning catch at short third man to dismiss Simmons off Ravichandran Ashwin, but India's celebrations were cut short after replays showed that Ashwin had overstepped.

That moment proved to a momentum changer and breathed a new lease of life into the West Indies chase. Charles went blitzkrieg as he went after Ashwin and Hardik Pandya in the eighth and the ninth over respectively – 21 runs came off those two overs, and suddenly the crowd lost its voice. The Indian spinners were unable to extract any turn from the surface, and the dew made it hard for them to grip the ball.

Charles brought up his half-century after blazing the ball through the mid-wicket boundary off Pandya, while Simmons took apart Ravindra Jadeja. MS Dhoni was running out of options, and that is when he decided to throw the ball to Virat Kohli.

Unbelievably, the 27-year-old dismissed Charles, just when his team needed it the most, with his first delivery in a T20I since October 2013 – he has been in that kind of form recently.

However, Charles' departure did not slow down West Indies' charge as Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons went after the Indian bowlers. Hardik Pandya went for 18 runs in the 15th over, and that changed momentum completely – especially with Simmons getting a life, as yet another dismissal was ruled out due to a no ball.

Simmons and Russell kept clearing the boundary with unnerving ease, as the Mumbai crowd silently witnessed an outstanding run chase. With eight runs required in the last over, Dhoni handed the ball to Kohli hoping for another miracle, but Russell finished it off with a four and six, as they booked their place in the final against England.

Earlier, Darren Sammy won the crucial toss and had no hesitation in bowling first on a wicket which looked good for batting. Both the teams made two changes each - Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons replaced Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher, while Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey came in for Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh.

India, for a change, went off to a good start as Sharma welcomed Carlos Brathwaite with a massive six over the long-on boundary in the third over, and then hit Sulieman Benn for two consecutive boundaries to reach 20 - his highest score of the tournament at that point – and he was just warming up. In the second ball of the sixth over, Russell's high full toss was deposited into the stands by Rohit Sharma, and to make matters worse for West Indies, it was called a no-ball for height. The next delivery was a free-hit, and Sharma hit it straight over the sight-screen. At the end of powerplay, India were 55/0 – their best start in the tournament by miles.

However, just when it looked like Sharma was set for a big score, Badree trapped him in front of the stumps.

Virat Kohli came into the crease, and Sammy brought Dwayne Bravo into the attack in the ninth over. Incredibly, West Indies missed three opportunities to run Kohli out in the space of two deliveries.

The misses proved costly as the duo forged a 66-run partnership with some frantic running between the wicket, and occasional boundaries to boost. But the need to accelerate eventually got the better of Rahane as he picked out Bravo at the mid-wicket boundary in the 16th over, in his attempt to hit Russell out of the park.

With just seven and six runs coming in the 15th and the 16th over respectively, India were in desperate need of some acceleration in the final four overs. Kohli went after Brathwaite in the 17th over and took 17 runs off him – bringing up his half-century in the process.

The 27-year-old shifted up through his gears as India scored 59 runs in the last four overs. Kohli remained not out on 89, from just 47 balls, and he was ably supported by Dhoni at the other end.

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