Virat Kohli shouts on Ravi Shastri for sending Rishab Pant above MS Dhoni
India were under tremendous pressure in their chase of 240 against New Zealand in the 1st semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Wednesday at Old Trafford in Manchester. India’s top-order was blown away on an overcast morning by New Zealand pacers Matt Henry and Trent Boult as the two pacers picked up 4 wickets between them in the first 10 overs. The New Zealand new-ball bowlers bowled brilliantly and exploited the overcast conditions to the fullest as they deflated India’s chase of 240 removing Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the space of the first four overs.
Young sensation Rishabh Pant had a chance to become a hero as he walked out to bat at number 4 ahead of the vastly experienced MS Dhoni. Pant come out with a fearless approach and kept releasing the pressure from time to time with eye-catching shots until the moment he got out. Pant, who added 47 runs for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya, played an absolute rash shot in a crucial juncture of the game to lose his wicket. Pant got trapped under a spell of tremendous pressure and perished trying to slog sweep Mitchell Santner into the mid-wicket stands.
Virat Kohli, who wore a dejected look while walking back to the pavilion after being dismissed by Trent Boult early on in the Indian innings, walked out of the dressing room and had a word with head coach Ravi Shastri in a fit of rage soon after Rishabh Pant had thrown his wicket away. Kohli walked straight to Shastri who was sitting in the balcony and had a word with him even as television cameras panned towards the India captain-coach duo. Kohli was seen having a brief chat with Shastri before heading back to the dressing room.
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Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli had been India’s consistent performers with the bat in World Cup 2019 but their rare failure came in the biggest match of their campaign so far. Much to the surprise of quite a few in the cricket fraternity, India sent Dinesh Karthik in at number 5 when their most experienced batsman in MS Dhoni was still waiting in the dressing room. Karthik failed to make an impact with the bat and was dismissed after scoring just 6 runs off 25 balls. He sliced one hard towards the point where James Neesham took an absolute blinder to send him packing.
There was no signs of MS Dhoni even after Karthik’s departure as Hardik Pandya was sent ahead of the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman. Sourav Ganguly, on-air for Star Sports, questioned the decision of holding an experienced batsman like MS Dhoni back when the team was under pressure after losing early wickets. Australian commentator Mark Nicholas, who was on-air for Star Sports, suggested that the chat between Kohli and Shastri could have been just about Kohli letting his frustrations out, considering he wouldn’t have wanted to do it in the dressing room in front of youngsters.