Virat Kohli is a rockstar. He is full of energy and passion and that swagger of his is unmistakable. There is not a single dull moment when he is on the field. Be it a practice session or a blockbuster match, Kohli will be in the thick of things.
So what happens when Kohli stays till the very end? India win. MS Dhoni & Co. stormed into the final of the ICC World Twenty20 by crushing South Africa by six wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla here on Friday.
And not surprisingly, Kohli was the star of the day. The right-hander smacked an unbeaten 72 off just 44 balls with five boundaries and a six. Mind you, 40 of those runs came in ones and twos. So emphatic was Kohli's performance that India made the 173-run target look a tad too easy. They chased it with five deliveries to spare. The Men in Blue will meet Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday. Victory will give India an unprecedented treble — they will hold all three major ICC trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy and World Twenty20).
Kohli came in after opener Rohit Sharma departed after making a fiery 13-ball 24. Sharma mistimed a Beuran Hendricks delivery to mid on. India were 39/1 in quick time.
However, this was nothing new for Kohli. He wet about his job with diligence. He was cautious to begin with, but did not spare the bad balls. Kohli's first six came off the 17th delivery he faced. He stepped out in style to hit offie JP Duminy over long on.
Ajinkya Rahane, who started off well, made a crucial 32 before top-edging a Wayne Parnell bouncer to mid-wicket. Kohli, on the other hand, carried on. Yuvraj Singh didn't look at ease, but Kohli engaged him in some quick ones and twos. The duo added 56 runs for the third wicket.
The southpaw, who returned to form with a 60 against Australia, ably supported his younger teammate before falling to an Imran Tahir googly. Singh went for a full-blooded shot but didn't time it well. But he had done his bit.
When Suresh Raina joined Kohli, India were 39 away from making their second final in the brief history of his competition. Raina reduced the margin by slamming Wayne Parnell for 14 runs in one over that included a six and two boundaries behind the wicket. Kohli then sealed the deal by thrashing Dale Steyn for two fours in an over. Raina fell for a quickfire 21 but, by then, India were just a hit away.
With one required off seven balls, Dhoni blocked the last delivery of the 19th over to give Kohli the chance to scoring the winning runs. The Delhi dasher did it in style. He flicked Steyn hard to the mid-wicket boundary and let out a huge roar.
Earlier, put into field, India's bowlers came a cropper against South Africa. After doing spectacularly well throughout the tournament, the spinners had an off day. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra (3-0-36-0) could not recreate the magic. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (2-0-8-0) was just used as a stop-gap bowler. Off-spinner R Ashwin (3/22) bowled extremely well, though. Skipper Faf du Plessis (58) and JP Duminy (45) played crucial knocks to help South Africa post an imposing 172/4. Kohli, though, made quick work of that target.