India’s pursuit of a modest 200-run target on a challenging Chepauk wicket turned into a nightmarish start as they found themselves teetering at a precarious 2-3. This early predicament unfolded due to the fiery opening spells delivered by Australia’s pace duo, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
The trio of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer departed without making any impact on the scoreboard, reminiscent of India’s painful semi-final exit against New Zealand in 2019 when they were reeling at 5-3 at the outset.
In the face of this adversity, India’s hopes hinged on the shoulders of their captain, Virat Kohli, who had to deliver a special performance to salvage the situation. Kohli embarked on his innings with caution, fully aware of the need to steer his team clear of the early onslaught.
It was in the seventh over that a pivotal moment occurred when Josh Hazlewood unleashed a menacing bouncer. Kohli, then batting on a mere 12 runs from 26 deliveries, sensed an opportunity to break free after encountering two consecutive dot balls. His attempt to pull the rising delivery, however, resulted in the ball spiraling skyward, seemingly destined for the safe hands of fielder Mitchell Marsh.
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In a heart-stopping turn of events, India found themselves on the brink of losing their fourth wicket, but fortune favored Kohli as Marsh fumbled the catch while sliding across the turf. This drop proved to be a lifeline for the star batsman. Following this reprieve, the partnership between Kohli and KL Rahul blossomed, adding more than 50 runs to provide India with a glimmer of hope in their quest to conquer the challenging target.