World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli chokes, MS Dhoni calm under pressure

0
104


Virat Kohli had scored 442 runs before India took on New Zealand in the first semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. By his standards, Kohli had had a middling tournament but the captain had done his bit in a solid campaign.

While Rohit Sharma went on a record-breaking spree and became the first man to score 5 hundreds in a single World Cup, Kohli hit 5 successive half-centuries. He said he was not concerned he could not convert them into hundreds because this World Cup, his role was different.

Meanwhile, India’s middle-order woes were mostly papered over by Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and to an extent KL Rahul. However, questions were asked of MS Dhoni whose lack of strike rotation left some of the game’s legends puzzled. In a steep chase against England, MS Dhoni’s go-slow approached baffled Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain while Sachin Tendulkar was disappointed with MS Dhoni’s slow-paced knock against Afghanistan.

It was accepted. India had relied on Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli for the better part of the last 4 years and in the 2019 World Cup, these 3 would have to play starring roles. Dhawan was ruled out when he suffered a fractured thumb during a magical hundred against Australia.

Rohit Sharma readily took responsibilty and created history. On Wednesday, he needed 27 to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs in a World Cup but he was out for 1 in India’s chase of 240.

Kohli chokes under pressure

Shortly after, Virat Kohli was out, also for 1. The captain had failed again in a high-pressure knockout game. India’s superstar had once again choked in an important ICC match. You might think it’s unfair to criticise a man who will soon break all of Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI record but here’s a fact: in 3 50-over World Cup semi-finals, Virat Kohli has scored only 11 runs.

In the 2011 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan, when he was still a novice, Kohli fell for 9 to left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz. 4 years later, when Virat Kohli had taken his first steps towards super-stardom, he was out for 1, again to another left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson.

In 2019, Virat Kohli was a legend. 41 ODI hundreds, the owner of several records etc etc. He should have taken the onus. Virat Kohli is a captain who likes to walk the talk.

In the 2017 Champions Trophy final, chasing 339, Virat Kohli flopped. He fell to Mohammad Amir for 5.

That’s 4 low scores in 4 high-pressure World Cup matches. He was captain in 2 of those.

So does Kohli choke under pressure? And what are his problems against left-arm pacers that teams around the world have been exploiting for years?

Dhoni keeps India in the hunt

Meanwhile, MS Dhoni has been criticised for playing out too many dot balls. He has been slammed over his strike rate and experts have raised questions on his intent.

But here are some facts again: In the 2011 World Cup, India were under pressure. They were overwhelming favourites against Sri Lanka and the hopes of a nation were on his shoulders. But Dhoni, then captain, walked in at No.5 ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh, and hit an unbeaten 91 off 79 balls to win India their 2nd World Cup.

In the 2015 World Cup semi-final, MS Dhoni gave India’s total a semblance of respectability with a run-a-ball 65. In 2019, MS Dhoni made 50 and added 106 with Ravindra Jadeja. Again, had it not been for Dhoni and of course Jadeja, India would have suffered a much bigger defeat in the semi-final against New Zealand.

In fact, after Ravindra Jadeja fell for a heroic 77, Dhoni kept India in the hunt. Had Dhoni not been run out in the 49th over, with 26 more needed, who know what could have been?

Virat Kohli is a modern-day great. He is a match-winner but India should expect a lot more from him in the games that really matter. This was another lost opportunity and MS Dhoni will not be around for the 2023 World Cup. Virat Kohli will be. Here’s hoping he can make amends then.

Also See:

Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from

  • Andriod App
  • IOS App





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here