Virat Kohli bowling act causes insanity in India at Cricket World Cup

Records have tumbled as India tore the Netherlands apart at the Cricket World Cup on Monday morning.

The host country has pulled off nine consecutive wins at the tournament — but the cricket world was far from focused on the result in the aftermath of the 160-run victory.

The big moment came earlier in the night when Virat Kohli was handed the ball to bowl for just the second time in six years.

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Kohli then sent the home crowd into meltdown when he pulled off his first wicket in ODI cricket in more than nine years.

It was absurd scenes in Bengaluru as India went into party mode with nine individual bowlers given an opportunity to bowl to the crumbling Dutch batting order.

Spectators inside the stadium were seen going absolutely nuts when Kohli snared the wicket of Scott Edwards when the batter tried to sneak a glance down the leg side on a delivery that was headed to be a leg side wide.

It was only Kohli’s fifth career ODI wicket from his gentle medium-pace and first since 2014.

“Serious cricket from one end, party from the other,” former India player Sanjay Manjrekar on TV commentary after on seeing Kohli and Rohit Sharma both take wickets.

Sharma said after the game he was lucky to be in a position to bowl nine of his 10 available bowlers.

“It’s something that is always in our mind. We want to create those options in the team, today we had nine options,” he said.

The scenes inside the stadium were so crazy, it was not lost on Edwards that his dismissal is going to be remembered for a ling time.

“It’s an honour for me that Virat Kohli took my wicket. I can flex it to my kids,” he said.

The crowd was absolutely loving it.

One cricket fan described the moment as “insane”.

India coach Rahul Dravid defended the casual approach to the win as the team prepares for the semi-finals.

Four years ago, New Zealand defeated India in the last-four by just 18 runs in a game which stretched across two days due to rain.

That loss extended India’s wait for a third World Cup title after 1983 and their 2011 triumph on home ground.

Five of the men who featured in the 2019 semi-final in Manchester — Rohit, Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja — will play in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“When it’s going well it looks good. One loss and everyone says ‘you don’t know anything’,” Dravid said with his team undefeated at the tournament.

“I think we will be inauthentic if we say ‘it’s just another game’. Yes, of course it’s the semi-final, but I think our processes and what we have done in each and every game is not going to change.

“There is going to be certain amount of pressure but I think the way we have responded to the pressure so far gives us lot of belief and lot of confidence. I am confident of the vibe and energy in the group.” In 2019, India were set a modest target of 240 to beat New Zealand but they lost their last four wickets for just 13 runs.

There was no shortage of runs on Sunday as all of India’s top five batsmen scored 50 and above.

Skipper Rohit made 61 with Shubman Gill and Kohli both hitting 51 before a 208-run stand followed between Shreyas Iyer (128 not out) and KL Rahul (102) which steered the team to 410-4.

“I think our middle-order has been fantastic,” Dravid told broadcasters Star Sports.

“Obviously the top-order is the one that gets to bat all the time and has been scoring a lot of runs for us and look at the leaderboard on numbers you’ll see the Kohlis and the Sharmas and rightly so, batting fantastically.”

He added: “For them to be batting the way the they are, whether it’s been Shreyas, whether it’s been KL, and even Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja), even Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) just gives us that confidence that we have got that experience.

“We have got that ability and we have also got them in form and playing really well getting to the semi-final.” Kohli leads the tournament batting charts with 594 runs, followed by South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (591), Rachin Ravindra of New Zealand (565) and Rohit (503).

Iyer, who came into Sunday’s game on the back of scores of 82 and 77, now has 421 runs at a strike-rate of over hundred.

He battled cramps in a 94-ball innings, laced with 10 fours and five sixes to be named man of the match.

“I got a deja vu, this happened with Australia too, and I threw my wicket away. Today, I wanted to be not out,” said Iyer, who returned to the team in September after recovering from a back injury.

“I took pills for the cramps. I feel the recent scores helped me in this innings.”

— with AFP

Originally published as ‘Insane’: India losing its mind over Kohli act at Cricket World Cup