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Virat Kohli’s genius sees India boot Australia out of World Twenty20

first_imgA stadium full of people chanting “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli,” is evidence that cricket can offer the same.How to describe Virat Kohli? How to describe the innings that knocked Australia out of the World Twenty20? Where you might expect to feel disappointment, it is hard to feel anything but awe.The reports say 82 runs from 51 balls, impressive enough. But the numbers don’t convey the range, the context, the control, the inevitability.Kohli entered the match at his best. An effortless nudge through midwicket for a boundary, second ball. An expert guide of a wide yorker for another, from his third. Off strike from his fourth.Then wickets fell, two in quick succession, and Kohli had to recalibrate. Knowing it was time to take care, he found singles and twos from nearly every ball, letting another seven overs pass by before looking for the boundary. Everything was planned out in his head.Kohli loves run chases. He sees the task like no one else, breaks it down at computer speed, and follows the plan through. In 50-over internationals, he averages 61.22 batting second, 41.23 batting first. When India wins those chases, he averages 83.97.But T20 is an even more frantic discipline, a form of the game where batsmen are expected to risk dismissal every over, to attack the bowling relentlessly, to sacrifice their wickets late to bring a team-mate on strike or gamble for a single extra run that might make a difference.In that format, averaging over 30 is elite. In T20 internationals, before the match against Australia started, Virat Kohli averaged 52.5. In chases, that went up to 83.6, and in chases India has won, 109.16.Australian captain Steve Smith won the toss and decided to bat.Three hours later, Kohli averaged 55.42 overall, 91.8 in chases, and 122.83 in chasing wins. This in a format where he has never needed to make a century.When MS Dhoni joined him after 14 overs, they needed 67 to win from 36 balls. At this point, around 12 an over, most batsmen start feeling pressure to hit sixes. More often than not they hole out. Kohli calmly looks for twos, and stays in.Perhaps as brilliant as his shot-making is his running. In Dhoni he has an equal. Needing 59 from 29, Kohli pulled Hazlewood for two to midwicket. Then drove two to cover. Then got four with the on-drive, two to cover, to wide of mid-on.Every shot, they belted the first run, dipped and turned, and were back for the second with perfect timing. A dozen runs from the over, minimal risk. So with three overs to go, India remained in touch needing 39.That’s when Kohli exploded. A pull shot from Faulkner for four. Another yorker glided behind point for the same. A skip down to drive a ball on the up, over long-off for six. Another sprinted two, before handing Dhoni the strike and then seeing him do the same. Nineteen from it, and game more or less over.If 20 from 12 balls left Australia mistakenly hopeful, Kohli ended it with four boundaries from five Nathan Coulter-Nile balls. A square drive, a pull, two cover drives. Acceleration over, now he was just finding a parking spot.The other man with a touch of genius on that field was Usman Khawaja. He pulled the first ball of the match for four, then mirrored Kohli’s run of four boundaries in five balls, Khawaja favouring the on-drive and leg-side whip versus Jasprit Bumrah.When he’s playing those shots, he looks unstoppable. He looks so elegant, so controlled. But control, at least in this format, is still what Khawaja lacks. There is insufficient method in his approach. He just bats, looking for boundaries. He doesn’t think through situations.In every match of this tournament, Australia got off to a good start courtesy of Khawaja. In every match, they stumbled after he didn’t go on. His scores were 38, 58, 21 and 26. Never could he match Kohli in taking primary responsibility for his team. He offered pretty guest performances before exiting stage left.Through his younger days, Khawaja had a reputation for being lazy. Being in the form of his life right now might lead to a little self-indulgence. It’s unreasonable to compare all players to the very best, but Khawaja has the potential to be that good. He can’t just be satisfied with his recent advances.A very different player is Shane Watson. Where Kohli emanates assurance, Watson has so often evoked vulnerability. On his dominant days he is untouchable, but they can come and go without warning or reason.On Friday against Pakistan he had one, 44 runs in a glorious display of clean hitting from 21 balls.On Sunday against India the yorkers were pinpoint, and no batsman could get away: Watson finished up 18 not out from 16 balls. From five fewer deliveries he’d made 26 fewer runs. A few of those would have made quite a difference.But having struggled with the bat, he turned around and went for it with the ball. Since retiring from Test cricket, Watson’s limited-overs pace has cranked back up. His bouncer has regained venom. He retains the guile learned over injury-hampered years.In this last hurrah, he was back above 140 kilometres per hour. Rohit Sharma charged as though Watson were a plonky medium-pacer, and was beaten by one that pegged back his off stump. Suresh Raina got one of those short balls and gloved to the wicketkeeper.When Watson came back late in the innings, Kohli and Dhoni paid him due respect. One ball was pulled for four, one came off the outside edge. The rest were dots and ones. The asking rate blew out to 13 an over, as the bowler finished with 2 for 23 from his four.There were 39 needed from three when Kohli decided it was time to make his move, and that was that. Watson had done everything he could to extend his run. The other bowlers weren’t able to follow suit.But there’s really no avenue for protest when genius shows you the door.last_img read more

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27,000 Students Write WAEC Today

first_imgMore than 27,882 candidates will begin writing the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exams today Monday, May 19, John Y. Gayvolor, WAEC Monrovia Head of Office has confirmed.`The candidates who registered to write this year’s annually-administered tests, according to Mr. Gayvolor, are representing at least 442 high schools from the 15 counties with Montserrado containing the highest numbers.In an exclusive interview Sunday, May 18, with thzaqe Daily Observer at his Congo Town office, he said preparations for the administration of the exams have been put in place to avoid any unnecessary hiccups during the weeklong process.The Monrovia WAEC head has encouraged all registered candidates to do their best to produce “acceptable results” at the end of the tests.This year’s exams, he said, will follow the same patterns as previously arranged in all of the four major subjects—Mathematics, General Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and other elective subjects.Earlier in her ‘good will message’ over the weekend to students sitting the 12th grade WAEC administer tests, the Minister of Education, Etmonia David Tarpeh, said the 12th grade exams are the measures to evaluate what the students have achieved over the last three years in the education sector.This year’s exams are being administered to students from 442 high schools — government, private and/or faith-based institutions — across the country.Of the 27,882 candidates, 15,130 are males, while 12,752 are females.According to Minister Tarpeh, all proctors, supervisors or monitors selected to administer the exams are being warned to exercise the greatest degree of integrity, restraint and commitment to the process.Candidates are also being advised to abide by rules abolishing the use of cell phones, pieces of paper and electronic gadgets other than the ones distributed or allowed in the hall by the examiners.Meanwhile, the MOE in collaboration with WAEC is appealing to parents, guardians and the general public not to enable or assist students to engage in acts inimical to the administration of the tests. This would include the solicitation of money or facilitation of “flexibility fees” as has previously been the case.Henceforth, the MOE has warned that anyone (proctors, examiners, monitors, etc) caught in acts outside of the exams protocol will be arrested and turned over to the courts for prosecution.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img
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