Kohli scored an unbeaten 59 off 44 deliveries as the Men in Blue set a 193-run target for Hong Kong in Dubai on Wednesday (August 31) in Dubai. The Indian bowlers then restricted Nizakat Khan and Co. to 152/5 to win the match by 40 runs, thereby becoming the second team to qualify for the Super 4 stage after Afghanistan.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir was asked whether Kohli ticked all the boxes during his knock in Wednesday’s game. He responded:
“Probably this is not the right opposition to judge Virat Kohli or any batter. But the runs were important, you have to put in the effort to score runs in the middle, whoever the opposition might be.”
Gambhir hopes that India’s batting mainstay will be back to his fluent best as the tournament progresses. The former India opener said:
“You can’t judge whether he was seen in that rhythm or will come in that rhythm, I hope he will be seen in better rhythm in upcoming matches, because it was not that sort of quality bowling.”
Kohli started sedately and accelerated once he had gotten his eye in. His 59-run effort from 44 deliveries was studded with a solitary four and three sixes.
“Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul also had opportunities” – Gautam Gambhir on Virat Kohli putting in the hard yards
“A 60-run knock is a 60-run knock. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul also had opportunities but Virat Kohli scored 60 runs, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma did not do that. You will get confidence only by the hard work you put in the middle.”
Gambhir concluded by saying that time spent in the middle will hold Kohli in good stead ahead of the next games. The cricketer-turned-commentator observed:
“Virat Kohli needed this knock a lot because he is ultimately coming back after a gap, it is not easy for any player. In the first match, there was help for the fast bowlers from the pitch, it was a better bowling line-up, but in the matches that will come ahead, whether it is Afghanistan or Pakistan, Virat Kohli will look in better rhythm now.”
Kohli is returning to international cricket after opting to take a break during the limited-overs series against the West Indies and Zimbabwe. He played a decent 35-run knock in India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan as well and will hope to be at the top of his game in the Super 4 stage of the tournament.
Q. Will Virat Kohli score another half-century in India’s first Super 4 match?
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