World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli and KL Rahul Rescue India from Nightmarish Start Against Australia

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World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli and KL Rahul Rescue India from Nightmarish Start Against Australia

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Virat Kohli and KL Rahul joined forces to secure a resounding victory for India in their opening match of the 2023 World Cup against Australia, winning by six wickets. Kohli, the star batsman for Team India, orchestrated a stunning comeback alongside KL Rahul, resulting in a memorable victory over Australia. Kohli’s remarkable innings of 85 played a pivotal role in steering India to success. This partnership held great significance as Kohli found a reliable partner in KL Rahul, who remained unbeaten with 97 runs off 115 balls, guiding India to the 200-run target with relative ease in 41.2 overs.

The Indian team faced a shaky start to their run-chase as their top-order batsmen were dismissed without contributing any runs. Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, and Shreyas Iyer were all back in the pavilion within the first two overs, courtesy of the sharp and incisive opening spell by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. India found themselves reeling at 2/3, a situation that could have severely dampened their hopes. However, they had a champion in Virat Kohli leading the way.

Known for his ability to perform under pressure, Kohli led the fightback with sheer class. Realizing that the pitch was not conducive to aggressive stroke-play, Kohli chose to build the innings steadily and patiently. He did have a momentary lapse in concentration when he mistimed a pull shot off Hazlewood, offering a chance to Mitchell Marsh. Fortunately for India, luck favored them as Marsh couldn’t hold on to the catch, providing the stroke of fortune they needed.

With the target not overly challenging, Kohli and Rahul took on the task of rebuilding the innings by smartly rotating the strike and collecting singles and twos. Kohli’s innings of 85 was characterized by his exceptional fitness and his ability to consistently find gaps in the field, accumulating 61 runs through singles and twos.

Remarkably, Kohli refrained from hitting a boundary for nearly 50 deliveries, a departure from his usual aggressive style. It wasn’t until Pat Cummins bowled a short delivery that Kohli decided to unleash his first boundary, a controlled pull shot towards deep mid-wicket. Even when he was struck on the helmet by Starc a few overs later, Kohli remained composed.

Kohli was agonizingly close to his 48th ODI century, but a pull shot off Hazlewood found the hands of Marnus Labuschagne, ending his innings. Nevertheless, his contribution had laid a strong foundation for India’s chase, and the momentum was firmly in their favor.

KL Rahul, often criticized for missed opportunities, chose this occasion to display his mettle. Facing the spin challenge posed by Adam Zampa, Rahul exhibited exemplary skills, using late cuts, back cuts, and an exquisite extra cover drive in a single over to neutralize Zampa’s threat. Rahul matched Kohli stroke for stroke and, even after taking on wicketkeeping duties for 50 overs, displayed unwavering determination in his batting. Rahul’s innings, embellished with eight fours and two sixes, concluded with a six that sealed India’s victory.

As Kohli approached what could have been his 48th ODI century, Rahul adopted a pragmatic approach, focusing on accumulating singles and twos while preserving his wicket until his senior partner reached his milestone. Once Kohli was dismissed, Rahul adopted an aggressive approach, seemingly aiming for a century himself. With five runs needed for victory and nine to reach his century, Rahul attempted a four, but the timing of the shot was such that it cleared the fence. Rahul was visibly surprised by the result but eventually settled for an unbeaten 97*. As the tournament progresses, India will draw confidence from this hard-fought victory and look to build on this momentum.

Reference:

https://www.reuters.com/sports/cricket/australia-bat-first-against-spin-heavy-india-world-cup-opener-2023-10-08/

https://www.outlookindia.com/

https://apnews.com/article/india-australia-cricket-world-cup-a5ff845314a216ee504cd4a529142f9e

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