Skipper Virat Kohli said he is an “all-format player” after his blistering 94 powered India to a six-wicket win over West Indies in the first T20I on Friday.
The star batsman smashed six fours and six sixes to record his career-best T20 international score in 50 balls as he surpassed his previous high of 90 with a winning hit over the rope. Kohli arrived with the score on 30 for one to complete his 23rd fifty and soon launched an attack to pulverise the West Indies bowlers as India pulled off their highest ever T20 chase.
“The aim is not to play slam-bang cricket. One of Rohit (Sharma) or I have to play long in this team,” Kohli said after his man of the match show. “That’s the role I play in every team I play in. Basic fundamental is that I don’t want to change my game too much for T20s. I’m an all-format player. I just want to score runs every game.”
Kohli has amassed 21,266 runs across all three formats including 70 centuries in Test and one-day since making his international debut in 2008.
Trial and error
Left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer made 56 — his maiden T20 fifty — and put on 71 with skipper Kieron Pollard to lead West Indies to 207 for five after being put in to bat on a good batting wicket. West Indies looked poised to get over 220 but leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal struck twice in three deliveries to get Hetmyer and send Pollard, who hit 37, trudging back to the pavilion.
Jason Holder then struck an unbeaten 24 off nine balls as West Indies managed 29 off the last two overs. Evin Lewis, with his 17-ball 40, and Brandon King, who made 31, also made useful contributions. “Batters did a good effort. You’d take 208, ten out of ten times,” said Pollard. “We lost due to the extras column. Nearly 2 and a half overs of extra deliveries. Yes, it was a batting wicket, but if we executed our plans better, it could’ve been a different story.”
The Indian innings witnessed 23 extra runs with four byes, two leg byes, three no-balls and 14 wides. The match also witnessed the start of a latest trial of technology using a TV umpire instead of the on-field official to call front-foot no-balls.
India’s Anil Chaudhary called the first no-ball with paceman Kesrick Williams overstepping the line in the 13th over of the Indian innings. Williams bowled another no-ball and Holder the third of the match. The system was trialled once in 2016, in the series between England and Pakistan, but the International Cricket Council wants to come out with a clear implementation of the plan this time around.
The second match of the series is in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.