Kohli wins battle, Malinga wins war

April 7, 2014

What exactly Steve Waugh said to Herschelle Gibbs in that 1999 afternoon still remains unresolved. In an article in 2010, Gibbs claimed he never heard Waugh saying those words and a year later in his autobiography ‘Out of My Comfort Zone’, Waugh recalled the memoire saying ‘I hope you realise that you have just lost the game for your team.’ Whether Waugh said it or not, the words ‘You’ve just dropped the World Cup’ have won a permanent place in cricket history thanks to a few headline-grabbers.
At Headingley in the last Super Six match of the 1999 World Cup, Australia needed to beat South Africa to make the semi-finals and had been set a stiff target of 271.
They were 48 for 3 when Waugh came to the crease and Gibbs greeted him with some usual jibes.
On 56, Waugh slapped a simple catch to midwicket off Lance Klusener, Gibbs clutched on to it but as he was about to hurl the ball skywards in celebration, it slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor. Then came the words from Waugh who went on to score 120 from 110 balls and subsequently led Australia to the title.
At least for a few seconds at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur on Sunday, Virat Kohli took the role of Waugh and Lasith Malinga became Gibbs.
A lot has been said about the contest between Kohli and Malinga in the ICC World Twenty20 final and the Sri Lankan captain had his chance of winning the duel very early, not as a bowler, but as a fielder.
Kohli miscued a pull shot off Rangana Herath and the ball went to Malinga, who was fielding at midwicket. But he dropped the chance, reviving the memory of Gibbs, who was fielding exactly in the same area.
Kohli was then batting on 11 and most importantly, India had been struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking having scored 31-1 in the previous six overs of batting powerplay.
Kohli went on to score 77 off 58 balls in his highest score of the tournament, which enabled India to post 130-4. Sri Lanka had to wait until the last ball of their innings to dismiss him, which cost India nothing but just one run.
With the Lankan bowlers bowling their hearts out, it would have been extremely tough for India to go nearer to what they eventually got had Kohli not saved his best for the final match of the tournament.
Kohli had been outstanding throughout the tournament hitting three fifties in the previous matches. His match-winning 72 not out against South Africa made such a sensation that it prompted a female England player proposing him to marry her on social networking site Twitter.
The only way he was untested was how he did batting first, something which he did not need to do too many times in this tournament. His first-innings batting average of 25.5 compared to his second innings’ 82.6 also left his fans curious.
Thanks to Malinga’s drop catch, he has won the battle, if not the war.

-Input from New Age

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