India salute hero Kohli

NEW DELHI. — Virat Kohli was hailed as a batting genius yesterday after his brilliant innings led India to an improbable victory over Australia and sealed a semi-finals berth for the hosts at cricket’s World Twenty20. Kohli hit an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls that mixed classic strokeplay with raw power in Mohali on Sunday night, as India chased down Australia’s total of 160-6 in a pulsating final group match.

With three overs to go, India were still 39 runs short of their target but they cantered home with five balls to spare as Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni laid into the Australian attack.

Kohli hit four boundaries in the penultimate over off Nathan Coulter-Nile before Dhoni finished the job with another four.

Had India been knocked out, it could well have been Dhoni’s last innings amid widespread expectations that he will call it quits after the tournament.

Kohli (27) has already replaced the 34-year-old Dhoni as Test captain but his regard for the older man was underlined when he paid tribute to India’s “Captain Cool” for helping him keep his head at the finale.

“MS in the end kept me calm, I could have got over-excited,” said Kohli after being named man-of-the-match.

“Trust me, you don’t like these situations very much, (but) they improve you as a cricketer.”

Dhoni said Kohli was learning how to stay calm in pressured situations while not losing his natural aggression. — AFP.

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