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Star Performer: Run-machine Kohli keeps India in overdrive

April 05, 2014 11:25 IST

Star Performer: Run-machine Kohli keeps India in overdrive

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Virat Kohli underlined his status as the best batsman in world cricket with another match-winning innings to take India into the final of the World T20.

The dashing batsman scored a fluent 72, which included five fours and two sixes, off 44 deliveries, as India beat South Africa in the second semi-final by six wickets, overhauling the target with five balls to spare, in Mirpur, on Friday.

- Scorecard

Electing to bat, South Africa posted a competitive 172 for four after India's spinners, save Ravichandran Ashwin, had a rare off day.

India were off to a flying start courtesy Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who put on 39 runs in 23 balls before the former was dismissed in the fourth over.

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Image: Virat Kohli celebrates after winning the game for India
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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Kohli paced his innings to perfection

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Kohli then added 38 runs for the second wicket with Rahane (32) before he single-handedly kept the South Africans at bay in the middle overs.

His 56-run partnership for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh -- the left-hander contributing just 18 runs in it -- proved quite crucial.

PHOTOS: India breeze past South Africa to enter WT20 final

He paced his innings to perfection after taking time to get his eye in and never let the run rate go out of hand in the middle overs. He sensibly exploited the gaps in the field to collect one and twos and the odd boundary in between.

His first boundary came off the 17th delivery he faced, when he went after part-timer J P Duminy and lofted him over long-on, in the 11th over.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was cleared over the mid-wicket fence for another maximum as Kohli raced to his half-century from 35 balls.

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Image: Virat Kohli reacts after hitting the winning runs for India
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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Raina's cameo helped India keep the run-rate in control

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Suresh Raina's brief cameo of 21 from 10 balls helped India keep the run rate in control but the match was still in the balance with 23 needed from three overs.

However, Kohli dashed all hopes the South Africa harboured as he hit the premier strike bowler for a couple of boundaries in the 18th over.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni deservedly gave him the strike in the final over and he hit the winning runs in grand style, clobbering Steyn over mid-wicket for a boundary.

Kohli is one of the top batsmen in the World T20, having scored 242 runs so far, and will be instrumental in India's chances of retaining the trophy they last won in 2007 when they meet Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday.

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Image: Suresh Raina
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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