Ind vs Pak – Asian Cup 2022

Virat Kohli let his magical wrists take over and a 150km / h delivery from Mohammad Hasnain sailed deep midwicket. It was his half century – the second in a row – with 36 balls, his 18th over, and the Indian locker room was standing.

Just a week ago, in his 100th T20I, again against Pakistan, Kohli was biting. A thick edge fell into the second ball he faced, the inner edges rolled over the stumps, the lofted shots landed in no-man’s land, the top edges flew to the border, and the drive attempts only ended up being cut. But this Sunday was different. The fluidity was there and the timing from the start was all there.

The second delivery he faced, a short from Shadab Khan in the seventh over of the inning, Kohli chose length early and swung back to hammer a shot between the wide-one long and the deep midwicket. In 11, he pivoted – head to the right over the ball, wrists on top of the rebound – to hit Hasnain at the edge of the square leg. Naseem Shah was not spared either. His first delivery to Kohli was slapped on the edge of cover after the hitter made room by shifting onto his leg and stepping onto the court.

Kohli was in his element. The fall of the wickets would not have altered his pace, especially since he had come to terms with the surface early. Before the match, coach Rahul Dravid had touched on the importance of quickly assessing conditions and aiming for above average scores. It was clear that this surface was not gripping and with a border of only 62 meters, India had to give itself the cushion of a great score.

But from being ultra-aggressive, Kohli had to slow down in the second half of his inning due to the wicket run, which he later said was the difference between hitting 200 and stopping at 181. But he took a peek at the mindset. of the team when he said that the wicket loss in the middle of pushing for “20-25 extra” was not a concern, because when it comes off, it will make a difference.

“If you saw the way we played, it gave us the results we need, and in our mid-overs, the run rate has also improved,” Kohli said of India’s approach. “It’s something that I, as a hitter, noticed very well, and I knew it’s an area we need to keep improving. We talked about it that sometimes doesn’t come off, the way you want and today, we’ve lost some wicket in the middle phase that did not allow us to go towards the goal of 200.

“The camaraderie with the guys is great. The environment within the team is great, so I love playing again right now and I feel good in the way I’m beating.”

Kohlic

“Why later [Deepak] Hooda and I, we were Bhuvic [Bhuvneshwar Kumar], so the bowlers had to follow. This makes a bit of a difference, but we have the skills to analyze the situation and also play accordingly. But given the situation, if we had a couple of wickets in hand, we could have had more leads. We are not bothered by the loss of wickets through the middle overs, because this is the way we want to play. We want to be able to get those extra 20-25 points that can ultimately make a difference in important games. “

Kohli explained that much of his slowdown in the second half was dictated by his remaining firepower. He was forced to delay the big hits, as India too faced the danger of running out of recognized hitters in death overs.

“Today I was making a conscious effort to hit at a higher pace,” he said. “When we lost the wickets, there was communication and our plans changed, where I had to beat up to 18 with Hooda. If there had been a couple of batters, I would have gone with the same time and tried to hit more limits or six But again, I ended up in a situation where I had to go deep.

“I thought Haris Rauf had a very good last fail. He nailed those slower balls and the Yorkers, with that pace when you run, it’s always hard to make it. [same] way, trying to take the game and keep up with the required rate, understanding the conditions and beating freely. As long as I’m in good space and confident in my serve, I know I can beat in many ways. It’s just a matter of getting back to the beat and getting familiar with the way you’re playing and once that happens, the situation determines how you need to play. “

Having scored two half centuries in a row and 35 earlier, Kohli is now the second highest scorer in the tournament so far – 154 points in three innings with a strike rate of 126.22 – behind Mohammad Rizwan. It was inevitable that he would be asked about his shape and to silence the critics. Kohli stressed the importance of finding excitement and joy in the joke as an important factor.

“I’ve never paid attention to these things [external criticism], to be honest, “he said.” I’ve been playing for 14 years; it doesn’t happen by chance. My job is to work hard on my game, something I always want to do. I want to improve my game for the team. It is something that I will continue to do.

“In the end everyone is doing their job. Our job is to play, work hard, give our 120%, and I’ve said in the past that as long as I do it and the team believes it, what happens in the locker room is the only one. which matters to us and also to me personally.

“People have their opinions and that’s great, that doesn’t change my happiness as a person. I took some time, put things in perspective, gave me the relaxation that this isn’t the best and -fine -all my life, I need to enjoy the game. I can’t put myself under such pressure of expectations that I can’t express myself. That’s not why I started playing this game. here, the atmosphere was very welcoming. I’m beating. “

Shashank Kishore is a senior editor of ESPNcricinfo

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