Virat Kohli's splendid direct hit to send Daniel Christian packing is SK Play of the Day
Indian captain reduces his team's target by effecting a crucial run-out in the first T20I.
One of the most common beliefs in cricket is that a batsman's chances of survival are usually extremely low when direct hits come into the equation. The opening T20I between India and Australia at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi reiterated the supposition.
Skipper Virat Kohli unleashed a direct hit to send Daniel Christian packing during the start of the 19th over in the visitors' batting innings. Let us relive the events surrounding the crucial run-out.
Watch Virat Kohli's stunning direct hit in Australia's fall of wickets here
Upon winning a handy toss, Kohli decided to chase due to the uncertainty caused by the possibility of rain. On a sluggish surface, Australia struggled to break free from the clutches of a fit and firing Indian bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar landed the early blow by castling the dangerous David Warner.
With their stand-in captain back in the dressing room, the tourists rode on Aaron Finch to get themselves going. The belligerent opener flexed his muscles and smashed four boundaries as well as a towering six to grab some momentum for his team. Meanwhile, at the other end, Glenn Maxwell threw his bat around without any discernible plan. The aggressive right-hander got himself out by offering a simple catch off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal.
When Finch departed to the wily spin of Kuldeep Yadav, the Aussies began to implode as wickets fell like nine pins. The likes of Moises Henriques, Travis Head, Tim Paine and Nathan Coulter-Nile all succumbed in quick succession to leave their team reeling at 113/7. India were now firmly in control of the game.
Kohli sounds the death rattle for Christian
With just two overs left in the innings, Australia had to rely on Daniel Christian to provide something for their bowlers to defend. The onus was on the hard-hitting all-rounder as his remaining batting partners were tailenders.
The world-class death bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah loomed large. The former was tasked with delivering the all-important penultimate over of the Australian innings.
Bhuvneshwar targeted the blockhole to prevent Christian from finding the boundary. The 34-year-old failed to get underneath a fuller delivery and could only heave the ball in the vicinity of the long-on fielder. Unlike his usual position, Kohli had stationed himself in the deep in order to patrol the fence in a more efficient manner.
Running like the wind, the Indian captain swooped in on the ball to put pressure on the batsmen running between the wickets. Even as Kohli's swift pick-up suggested otherwise, Christian decided to test his luck and call for the second run. But the 28-year-old let loose a rapid throw towards the striker's end where the all-rounder came haring.
Kohli's quick release and accurate throw clattered into the stumps. Despite his desperate scramble, Christian was unable to get to his crease in time. Subsequent replays confirmed that the Indian skipper had got his man. Wicket-keeper MS Dhoni, who had positioned himself close to the stumps, sported a wry smile on his face as the direct hit meant that he did not have to whip the bails off hastily.
Following Christian's departure, the Australian lower-order scratched around when confronted with some high-quality death bowling. Only 4 runs came off the last 11 deliveries and the visitors finished their innings with a paltry total of 118. Were it not for Kohli's splendid direct hit, India's target might have been a lot more. The run-out came at a critical point and ensured that the hosts faced a straightforward chase in spite of the rain-induced DLS target.