Kohli leads from front as India coast to 7-wkt win
- Kohli reasserted his reputation as the master of this white-ball game.
- With intent in his stride, clarity in his mind and near-perfection in his strokeplay, Kohli is the pulse of limited-overs batting.
- Kohli walked back to the pavilion with 72 against his name, unbeaten, untroubled and with a 1-0 series lead.
MOHALI: Virat Kohli enjoyed his day out here on Wednesday evening. He went out to bat with his team chasing a target of 150 runs, shepherded the batsmen at the other end and helped India ease past the target with six wickets and an over to spare in the second T20I.
Kohli reasserted his reputation as the master of this white-ball game. The India captain walked back to the pavilion with 72 against his name, unbeaten, untroubled and with a 1-0 lead with one game to go in four days' time.
With intent in his stride, clarity in his mind and near-perfection in his strokeplay, Kohli is the pulse of limited-overs batting. Give him a target to chase and he will invariably turn up looking even more invincible. The check-drives sailing into the long-off stands off the medium pacers, following the flicks through mid-wicket and punches through the covers, was an ominous indication of his unwavering authority during his 52-ball knock that had four boundaries and three sixes.
One would not know if another 20 runs would have altered his near flawless game on the night but one could see he was always in control of the game. The 61-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan looked so organic that an inexperienced South African attack ran out of ideas.
That's fearless and yet careful cricket that he's been yelling out at the youngsters coming into his team. It is so infectious and Dhawan caught it without any trouble. There were no frantic rundowns, just clean hitting clubbed with smart rotation of strike till David Miller's moment of unworldly brilliance at the long-on boundary sent Dhawan back for a measured 31-ball 40. Shreyas Iyer followed it up with 14-ball 16 after Rishabh Pant threw away another opportunity off a slow long hop from left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin.
Temba Bavuma, fighting the label of a Test specialist, scored a 43-ball 49 to lay the platform for the designated power-hitters. South Africa set it up beautifully to go big but the ticking brain of India's new crop of white-ball specialists averted a potential onslaught as the visitors finished with 149/5 after winning the toss.
It took 12 overs for the Indian seamers - led by Deepak Chahar - to figure out the length and pace required to protect the short straight boundaries. Then came the hard length - the in-thing in T20 cricket - coupled with the variety of slower balls. Chahar impressed with his swing up front and then with his canny mix of slower deliveries as he finished with figures of 2/22 from his four overs.