Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh praised Virat Kohli for his pressure-absorbing knock in the 2023 World Cup match against Australia in Chennai on Sunday. Harbhajan commented that with his performance, the batter once again proved why he is referred to as “king” and “chase master”.
The Men in Blue beat the Aussies by six wickets in the World Cup clash played in Chepauk. Batting first after winning the toss, Australia were bowled out for 199 in 49.3 overs. In the chase, India crumbled to 2/3 in two overs. However, Kohli (85 off 116) and KL Rahul (97* off 115) added 165 for the fourth wicket to ensure a comfortable win for India. They got over the line in 41.2 overs.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan hailed [0:35] Kohli for his wonderful innings.
“There is a reason why he is called King Kohli. Chase master or whatever you want to call him, he is the king. It was an excellent knock. There was a time when it seemed like Australia might win the game. Kohli did get a life when he tried to pull [Josh] Hazlewood and that catch was dropped. But, after that, Kohli did not give any chance and handled the chase very well,” the former cricketer said.
Harbhajan added that the pitch in Chennai was slow and not easy to bat on, making Kohli’s knock ever more praiseworthy.
“Virat Kohli batted with a lot of responsibility and showed why he is the biggest player and is held in such high esteem,” the 43-year-old stated.
Kohli struck only six fours in his patient knock before perishing to Hazlewood, attempting a pull.
“If Virat Kohli’s catch had been taken, the result could have been in their [Australia’s] favor” – Harbhajan
There was only one blemish in Kohli’s knock. When on 12, he tried to pull Hazlewood but top-edged the delivery. Mitchell Marsh, however, put down the catch following some miscommunication with Alex Carey.
Harbhajan opined [2:50] that the result of the match could have been different if the catch had been held.
“If Virat Kohli’s catch had been taken, India would have been 20/4. We had Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin left to bat, but I feel Australia would held the upper hand and the result could have been in their favor,” the former off-spinner said.
Harbhajan further added that Kohli was disappointed with his eventual dismissal not because he missed out on a hundred, but because he could not finish the match.
“He was a bit disappointed when he got out. That was not because he missed out on a hundred, but because he could not finish the game. We have often seen that he gets dismissed very few times in chases [once he is set]. He would have been happier if he had scored 50 and had finished the game,” Harbhajan concluded.
Following Kohli’s dismissal, Rahul and Hardik Pandya (11* off 8) took India past the finish line with 52 balls to spare.