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IND vs BAN: Virat Kohli’s magnificent 6; KL Rahul breathes easy & Taskin’s eye-popping frugality


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Virat Kohli has not just struck sixes in this tournament, but hit those that would stay eternally in the eye and mind of the spectators. The six off Hasan Mahmud in the 19th over was a sparkling gem. The ball was pitched up, a yorker gone awry perhaps. Kohli’s front-foot glided forth to the pitch of the ball and with a firm, fluid bat-swing he drove him straight over his head, up and over, the high front-elbow winking at the skies, Kolhi striking a statuesque pose in the follow-throw for the shutterbugs to frenziedly capture that image and save it for posterity. The six perhaps was not as difficult, or executed under such immense pressure as in the Pakistan game, but on the grandeur-scale, this was an equal.

– Sandip G

KL Rahul India’s KL Rahul celebrates after scoring 50 runs during the T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Bangladesh in Adelaide, Australia, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP/PTI)(AP11_02_2022_000085B)

 

KL freed by the free hit

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It needed a free hit for KL Rahul to try an attacking stroke for the first time against Bangladesh. It was the ninth delivery he had faced, in the second over from Mustafizur Rahman, and the dot balls had already built up. He had poked at the first ball of the match from Taskin Ahmed, and was beaten outside off. He ended up letting the next three deliveries go past him to the wicketkeeper, and tapped the next few carefully to the off-side ring. Even the free hit, he failed to connect, missing a heave off his pads. However, there was to be some respite for Rahul in the same Mustafizur over, as he picked a delivery similar to the free-hit very cleanly all the way over deep square leg.

– Abhishek Purohit

So so slow start

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KL Rahul, the out of form opener, was circumspect in the first over against Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed. The fresh wicket in Adelaide had decent bounce and carry and Rahul kept leaving the ball till late. Ahmed operated in the corridor and Rahul refrained getting tempted. From two slips, Bangladesh added a third hoping for an edge. All of one run was scored in the first over – a push to covers. Five dots in the first six is not the ideal way to start even taking into account the slightly helpful conditions for the bowlers and the lack of runs of the batsmen. Will it set the tone for the rest of the innings?

– Nihal Koshie

Impersonator Marvel & his running comms with the hands

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After every ball he dealt off Taskin Ahmed in the first over, KL would shadow-trace the path and movement of the ball with his hands. The first ball he faced straightened off the seam. Soon after the ball was past his feeble poke, he would back away and show the ball’s path with his gloved fingers. In case you missed it. With his hands, he showed that the ball just about held the line. The second ball was similar. His hands reproduced the path. The third ball seamed in. So with his fingers he gestured inward movement. The sixth seamed away a fraction, he made the appropriate movement with the hands. Like a toned-down version of Steve Smith, the impersonator marvel, he was giving a running commentary of the game with his hands.

– Sandip G

Bangladesh's Taskin Ahmed Bangladesh’s Taskin Ahmed bowls during the T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Bangladesh in Adelaide, Australia, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/James Elsby)

Scanner chasing Rohit now?
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Rohit Sharma had an opportunity to ride his luck and didn’t. In the third over bowled by fast bowler Taskin Ahmed his attempted flick was dropped by Hasan Mahmud at deep backward square leg. But in the very next over he gave Mahmud a big break when he upper cut straight to backward point. Sharma has not been under the scanner for his lack of big runs, like Virat Kohli was and KL Rahul is. First Kohli’s bad form was the focus, then Kohli’s good form. Then Rahul’s bad form. Sharma has flown under the radar. His 53 against Netherlands got him some breathing space but for how much longer?

– Nihal Koshie

First the pull, now the cut

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Rohit Sharma does not usually upper cut. That too just over the keeper’s head. Not for him arching his body and dabbling the ball over the keeper. He used to play the shot in the early part of his career but shelved it after it brought his downfall on a couple of occasions. It resurfaced again against Bangladesh’s Hasan Mahmud. He was undone by the lack of pace. He ended wafting the thin air, much before the ball had reached him. It turned out to be a set-up ball. The length of the next ball was similar but outside the off-stump. Rohit, in an irresistible mood to cut, cut this too. But the ball ended up in the hands of the backward point. If the pull had undone him him in Perth, it was its sibling cut that turned out to be his terminator.

– Sandip G

Packed off side field

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Indian teams are traditionally good on the off-side; anything short there, they like to cut hard. Bangladesh had tried to cut all spaces for the Indian team on the off-side. For Virat Kohli, they tried to pack the area so that Kohli couldn’t play his traditional on-the-rise punch shot. It happened soon as Kohli came out to bat. Taskin Ahmed had a slip, a point, another fielder next to point, cover, extra cover and a mid-off. Kohli went chasing one, didn’t find the middle of the bat but it sailed over the head of cover for four. Within powerplay, Bangladesh had tried its best to cramp Indians’ flowing arms.

– Devendra Pandey

Taskin’s Test match frugal figures

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Taskin Ahmed has been Bangladesh’s best bowler in this T20 World Cup. He produced an excellent Powerplay spell of 3-0-10-0 against India, and would bowl his four overs on the trot for just 15 runs, but was extremely unlucky to not pick up a wicket or two. He had Rohit Sharma dropped at deep square leg, he beat KL Rahul and Virat Kohli on the outside edge, and saw two attacking Kohli shots just clear the fielders at cover and slip. He consistently got the ball to move away just a bit or hold its line outside off, from a good length or just short of it. He ended his spell with a Test-match line and length – good ending on off stump – which KL Rahul could only tap square for a single.

– Abhishek Purohit

Circling the short, square boundary

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Coach Rahul Dravid had said ahead of the Bangladesh game that teams that were able to utilise the different boundary dimensions on Australian grounds well would be successful in this T20 World Cup. The square boundaries at Adelaide Oval are pretty short, in the early 60-meters, compared to the massive straight boundaries. And KL Rahul used them superbly. Three of his four sixes were hit square, one picked up over deep square leg, and the other two slashed and sliced over the off side. And two of his three fours were slashed square as well.

– Abhishek Purohit

Lucky Surya, “left fielder ran right”: SMG

Suryakumar Yadav was twice lucky in the 12th over bowled by Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan. He tried to sweep the first ball hard, but top-edged it behind the wicketkeeper. Mustafizur Rahman made a dash for it from short fine leg, but even as he stretched out both hands, the ball slid through between his palms. He was running to his ‘wrong side’, he is a left-hander, Sunil Gavaskar immediately pointed out on air, never one to miss out on this particular detail. Four balls later, Suryakumar went after an 87kph delivery that Shakib fired full outside off, but a thin edge rushed above the wicketkeeper’s gloves for two runs this time.

– Abhishek Purohit

Exhale & hearty laugh after KL strikes form
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Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma must be relieved after KL Rahul came good with a half century after his last three innings read 4, 9, 9. The Indian team management had been backing him and will continue to back him as they believed in him and saw what Rahul brings to the table. Batting coach Vikram Rathour and Dravid seemed to be having a relieved laugh as Rahul was about to reach his 50 runs mark. After all it was key for openers to click in these big tournaments.

– Devendra Pandey

Wily-er Shakib goes snapping away

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Left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan is a wily fox, not the kind of spinner against whom a batsman can claim they are ‘in’. Even in T20s. Shakib can be irritatingly accurate but also can make subtle changes in pace without too much of change in his arm speed. He had dismissed KL Rahul when he got the India opener to top edge when he tried to lap to fine leg. A little quicker than Rahul expected. Then he got one to bounce to which Suryakumar Yadav tried to slog sweep. Yadav was lucky as Mustafizur Rahman couldn’t clasp after getting to the ball. However, he got Yadav a few balls later with a little drift. This was slower and Yadav went too early for the cut. A rare mistimed shot for the in-form Yadav. A smart change of pace from Shakib.

– Nihal Koshie

Shakib not amused by Kohli’s no-ball prompt; but all ends amicably

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Virat Kohli swung a bouncer from Hasan Mahmud on a couple of bounces to deep square leg and immediately raised his right hand towards the square-leg umpire Chris Brown, reminding him it was the second delivery of the over above shoulder height and hence a no-ball. As a free hit was awarded, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan ran upto Kohli, put an arm around him smilingly and seemed to tell the umpires that “just because” it was Virat Kohli who was asking for the no-ball, they were calling it so. When he had swung the high full toss from Mohammad Nawaz for six in the last over against Pakistan, Kohli had instantly raised his right hand towards the square-leg umpire Marais Erasmus, who was at the bowler’s end in the Hasan Mahmud over today. It was all sorted out amicably between Kohli and Shakib eventually.

– Abhishek Purohit

Over-eager DK’s scamper to nowhere

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Dinesh Karthik kept shaking his head in rage as he walked back to the pavilion after he was run out. He would thud his pad violently with the bat and kept cursing himself. Short of runs, his place under scrutiny and having just struck a sweet four, Karthik was desperate to make this opportunity count against his favourite opponent. A careless run-out was the last thing he would have wished for. There was a touch of comedy about the incident. Virat Kohli had just tipped the ball to cover, timing the ball sweeter than he had thought. But Karthik had taken off, he was within touching distance of Kohli when the latter shouted at him to return. Karthik made a frantic sprint back and leapt full-pelt, but the throw was fast and accurate enough to catch him short of the crease. After he scrambled back to his feet, he wildly gesticulated to Kohli that there indeed was a run in it. But Kohli would nod his head in disapproval. Whatever, Karthik wasted perhaps the most golden opportunity to retain his spot.

– Sandip G





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