Melbourne, Nov 7 (PTI): Virat Kohli’s sensational straight six off a super quick Haris Rauf delivery will go down as one of the best shots played in T20 World Cup history, reckons Australian legend Ricky Ponting.
The special six in extreme pressure was followed by a flick over fine leg, reducing the equation to 16 off the final over in one of the most memorable Indo-Pak contests ever.
With Kohli staying unbeaten on a magical 83 at the other end, R Ashwin hit the winning runs off the final ball, as India pulled off a win for the ages.
The two sixes from Kohli has already become part of cricketing forklore and
Ponting, too, looked back fondly at those outrageous strokes, especially the first one.
“I’m not sure what all the fuss is about,” Ponting said in his inimitable style before raving over the first six.
“It’s going to go down as one of the most remembered and talked about shots probably in – I won’t say white-ball cricket history – but certainly T20 World Cup history,” he told the T20 World Cup website.
Babar Azam was forced to bowl left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz in the 20th over after Rauf, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi finished their quota. Kohli himself had admitted that he had to find those two sixes off Rauf to keep his team in the game.
“They would have known, having done the calculations, that it was going to have to be the spinner that was going to bowl the last over. That just goes to show how important the last two balls of the 19th over were,” said Ponting.
“They had to get boundaries on those two or the game was done. What had sort of happened in the over previous as well, Virat was setting up for something that was going to be full.
“You’re setting up something for that full, that he could smack back down the ground off the front foot.
“He was almost half through his swing and then the length is not there, and he was good enough to hold his shape and find the middle and hit it far enough to get it not just over the fence,” he said referring to Kohli’s moment of magic.
Ponting, who is third in the all time run getters list behind only Sachin Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara, said on a lighter note that he never attempted what Kohli executed in his illustrious career.
“I didn’t do it,” Ponting said with a laugh.
“I mean, it wasn’t on the back foot, it was just a backfoot length ball. He sort of loaded up, his footwork was quite neutral when he hit it.”
Ponting feels Kohli’s supreme fitness also allowed him to attempt that stroke.
“He stood up on top of the bounce of the ball, and there’s a certain degree of skill involved in that but you’ve got to look at the strength involved in a shot like that as well.
“All that strength came through his core. You’ve got a steady base and the power to create and play that shot from there, comes through your core. We’ve seen him with his cricket gear off, he’s pretty fit.
“There’s a lot of other players that just wouldn’t have been strong enough through their core to do something like that but he’s one of the guys that can,” he concluded.