Hyderabad: Virat Kohli is the oldest player on the Indian team and has led the team many times before. He knows he needs to use his experience to lead the younger players and help India win.
On Sunday, the former captain did just that. With only 30 runs on the board and Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul out of the game, he kept the innings going. Suryakumar Yadav went after the bowling, and Kohli stayed in the background. They made a hundred-run partnership for the third wicket, and then Kohli took over scoring runs quickly.
He and Hardik Pandya put together a 48-run partnership that helped India beat Australia by six wickets with one ball to spare in the 3rd T20I at the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium here. This made the series 2-1 in favour of India.
Kohli said that the situation called for him to let Suryakumar drive at that point.
"When I looked in the dugout, Rahul and Rohit both told me to keep batting. Suryakumar Yadav has the skills to bat well in any kind of weather. He scored a hundred in England and then did well in the Asia Cup. I haven't seen him hit the ball this well in the last six months. Kohli told the official broadcaster after the game, "It's just the variety of shots, and playing them at the right time is such a good skill, and he has it."
Kohli also decided to go after the dangerous Australian spinner Adam Zampa, who had taken 3-16 in the second match at Nagpur and was bowling well and making the batters nervous, which gave Suryakumar Yadav a lot of confidence to play his shots at the other end.
"I have to use what I know, and I had to beat Zampa. I decided I would go after him. He is a good bowler and tries to keep me from getting too many runs. I knew he was going to attack my stumps, so I was outside the leg stump. "I'm trying to hit those big ones in the middle overs on purpose," he said.
Kohli, on the other hand, was not happy that India needed 11 runs from the last over and that Kohli was out to Daniel Sams after hitting a huge six off the first delivery. Off the next-to-last ball, Hardik Pandya pushed Sams over the line, which gave India the win.
"The game shouldn't have lasted that long, and in the last over, we should have had four or five runs to get. It was important for me to stay calm and hit one boundary, which I did (in the last over)," Kohli said.
The 34-year-old former captain of India said that he is enjoying batting since he got back into it at the Asia Cup after a short break. Before that, he had played all the time for years. He said that he is working hard on his hitting and is happy with how things are going.
"I've enjoyed hitting since I got back into the game at the Asia Cup. I was also an hour and a half ahead of the team today. Kohli said, "I'm working hard on my process and happy with what I've done so far."
That would make India fans very happy, because a refreshed and happy Kohli will give India a big boost for the T20 World Cup next month in Australia.