Virat Kohli is known for his combative nature but against Australia in their 2019 World Cup clash on Sunday, the India captain showed his caring side.
During India’s first innings, Australia batsman Steve Smith was getting booed by an Oval crowd in London completely dominated by India fans. Smith was sent to the boundary line at the Vauxhall End of the ground and Indian supporters started to boo the Aussie batsman, seemingly in response to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018 for which he was banned for a year. There were some chants of ‘cheater’ as well, according to ground reports.
Seeing this, Kohli decided to take matters into his own hands and asked that section of Indian fans to applaud and not boo Smith. He later went up to Smith and the two shook hands.
Kohli was lauded on social media for his gesture. Recently, South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada had created a stir by claiming that Kohli is immature as he can’t handle verbal volleys directed at him. Some on social media also tagged Rabada in their response to the Kohli-Smith gesture.
The ‘zing’ bails have become the centre of attention in the 2019 World Cup with Australia opener David Warner the latest batsman to benefit from the stubborn bails refusing to budge despite contact with the stumps.
The heavier than usual bails – that light up along with the stumps when disturbed – are ending up denying bowlers legitimate dismissals as their weight, combined with the deep grooves they sit in, means batsmen are not getting out despite the ball hitting the woodwork.
Warner was the latest beneficiary of the heavy bails as he chopped India pacer Jasprit Bumrah on to his leg stump but the bails didn’t fall in the second over of Australia’s chase.
The Aussie opener became the fifth batsman in the ongoing World Cup to get lucky like that. Quinton de Kock should have been bowled by England spinner Adil Rashid, Sri Lanka batsman Dimuth Karunaratne to Kiwi Trent Boult, Windies opener Chris Gayle to Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc and Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Saifuddin to England’s Ben Stokes. But in all instances, the bail didn’t budge.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
Four genuine fast bowlers hitting the woodwork with decent velocity and not managing to dislodge the bails is a serious concern for all teams and the ICC. You can imagine the scenes in, say, the final where a batsman is ‘bowled’ but the bails don’t budge and he goes on to score a title-winning ton.
What is also an issue is that not only do the bowlers don’t get a wicket, runs scored off such balls are added to the score. Talk about adding insult to injury.
If it is an ICC event, then Shikhar Dhawan can’t be far away from finding form. As happened in the last three editions, India opener Shikhar Dhawan found form just at the right time at a ‘world’ event as he scored a fine century against Australia to guide India to a commanding total of 352-5 in the 2019 World Cup on Sunday.
Dhawan hit 117 off 109 balls that laid the foundation of a massive Indian total. While Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten century in the previous game against South Africa, it was Shikhar’s turn to bat for a majority of the innings as he brought up his third World Cup hundred.
It was the sixth ton for Dhawan in ICC events – World Cup and Champions Trophy – to go with four fifties in 20 innings. Suffice to say Dhawan loves the biggest stage.
Balls faced: 109
Strike rate: 107.3
It was an innings of the highest order. India had to keep Australia’s opening quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins at bay and Dhawan, alongside Rohit, ensured India didn’t lose an early wicket. As batting became easier and Australia’s back-up bowlers failed to maintain their discipline, Dhawan cashed in. He didn’t hit a single six on Sunday, which is remarkable as he scored at more than a run a ball throughout his stay.
Dhawan has a weakness against left-arm quicks. The best thing he did was not give Starc his early wicket. What that did was knock Starc off his track and he lost his way as the innings wore on. Cummins was the only real threat, which meant basically a feeding frenzy for 40 overs. Dhawan never let the scoring rate dip, even though Rohit and even Kohli – during the start of his innings – took their time.
You can’t pick any fault in Dhawan’s batting at The Oval. In fact, even the timing of his dismissal was perfect as he got out with 13 overs to go – just the perfect amount of time for the new batsmen to get their eye in and then go after the bowling. Expect Dhawan to kick on from here.