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WORLD T20 PHOTOS: Kohli's brilliance carries India to semi-finals

March 27, 2016 23:20 IST
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IMAGE: India's Virat Kohli (left) celebrates past Australia's James Faulkner after winning their match at the ICC WT20. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters.

India sealed a semi-final berth in the World Twenty20 after defeating Australia by six wickets in a do-or-die Group 2 match in Mohali.

Title favourites India stormed into the last four with a sensational victory in their final group match, relying on Virat Kohli's batting heroics.

- Scorecard

After restricting Australia to 160 for six, Kohli (82 not out) provided the spark with a superlative display of batting to help India overhaul the target with five balls to spare in a thrilling showdown at the IS Bindra Stadium. 

India turned the game on its head in the last four overs with the flamboyant Kohli unleashing a flurry of shots to take the game away from the Australians much to the delight of the capacity home crowd. 

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18 not out) hit the winning runs - a four - to the wild celebration at the Indian camp as well among the vociferous crowd. 

IMAGE: Yuvraj Singh of India celebrates after taking the wicket of Steve Smith of Australia during the ICC World T20 Group 2 match in Mohali. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

India, who finished second in Super 10 Group 2, will take on the West Indies in the second semi-finals in Mumbai on March 31. New Zealand take on England in the first semi-finals on March 30 in New Delhi.

Earlier, India made a remarkable recovery after their bowlers leaked runs in the initial overs as they restricted Australia to 160 for six.

Australia were cruising at 53 for no loss at the end of the fourth over with Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin conceding 17 and 22 in the second and fourth overs respectively but the home bowlers bounced back in the later overs to restrict the Aussies to a competitive total.

IMAGE: Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli of India celebrates after Pandya took the wicket of Aaron Finch of Australia. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

For Australia, Aaron Finch (43) and Glenn Maxwell (31) were the main contributors as Australia lost the momentum in the later overs at the IS Bindra Stadium.

Finch made 43 off 34 balls at the top while Maxwell scored 31 of 28. 

Hardik Pandya grabbed two wickets for 36 runs while Ashish Nehra took one wicket for 20 runs in his four overs. 

With a semifinal berth at stake for both teams, the atmosphere at the stadium was electric as fans flocked to stadium hours before match time.

IMAGE: Aaron Finch of Australia speaks with Usman Khawaja during the ICC WT20 Group 2 match against India in Mohali. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

The in-form Usman Khawaja set the tone for the Australia innings by pulling Nehra for four on the very first ball of the match. The seasoned Indian came back well, beating Khawaja twice in the same over. 

Khawaja, however, could not be contained for long as he hammered an erring Jasprit Bumrah for four boundaries in his opening over.

The Australians had their aggressive intent clear, so much so that even first change Ashwin was not spared. 

Finch deposited the star Indian spinner for two consecutive sixes over long on and under pressure, his next ball was wide down the leg side for five runs. Ashwin's 22-run over meant Australia had raced to 53 for no loss in four overs.

IMAGE: Steve Smith of Australia looks dejected after being dismissed by Yuvraj Singh of India during the ICC World T20 Group 2 match in Mohali. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

India badly needed a breakthrough to stop the free flow of runs and it was provided by Nehra, who had the dangerous Khawaja caught behind off a fuller ball.

Ashwin, brought back in the eighth over, bounced back from a forgettable first over by having David Warner stumped to make it 73 for two. That wicket was Ashwin's 50th in the format, making him the first Indian to do so. 

Steven Smith (2) then joined Finch in the middle but much to the delight of a vociferous crowd, he lasted only six balls two days after smashing an unbeaten 61 against Pakistan at the same venue. 

Yuvraj Singh, bowling his first ball of the tournament, induced a faint edge of Smith's bat as he attempted a hard slash on a flatter one.

IMAGE: Glenn Maxwell of Australia looks dejected after being dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah of India. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

India had pulled things back considerably after leaking runs early on. Soon after, it became 100 for four in 13 overs with the fall of Finch. The odd ball keeping low also made life tougher for the batsmen. 

It was over to Shane Watson (18 not out) and Maxwell to provide the late flourish. Maxwell did his bit with a breezy knock which included a switch hit that went for six over cover off a full toss from Ravindra Jadeja. 

Big hitters are aplenty in the Australian batting line-up and in came James Faulkner (10) to support Watson. But the pitch getting slower and disciplined bowling by the Indians did not allow the powerful pair to free their arms. Nehra once again was the most economical bowler for the home team.

The Australians, however, ended the innings in style courtesy Peter Nevill (10 not out), who smashed a six and four in the two balls he faced.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli of India bats during the ICC WT20 Group 2 match against Australia in Mohali. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

Let down by a poor start, India were left to get 39 in the last three overs but Kohli got the team home to 162 for four in 19.1 overs. His 82 not out came from 51 balls, studded with nine fours and two sixes. The 18th over bowled by James Faulkner went for 19 runs and that swung the game in the home team's favour. 

The Indians lost openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Rohit Sharma (12), who both had not done much in the previous matches, early in the chase. 

Dhawan top-edged a rising Josh Hazlewood delivery to short fine-leg before Rohit walked out of the crease to find his stumps disturbed off a slower ball by Shane Watson, leaving India at 37 for two in 5.5 overs.

All hopes were now pinned on premier batsman Kohli, who has made it habit of chasing down targets in testing times. He started with a delectable flick and a square drive off Hazlewood, raising hopes of another successful chase through him.

He stood strong as Suresh Raina (10) succumbed to the short-ball again, bringing in home hero Yuvraj Singh (21) at 49 for three.

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