India won against Australia to gain spot at semi-final in T20 World Cup 2016 © Getty Images
India won against Australia to gain spot at semi-final in T20 World Cup 2016 © Getty Images

India required 39 from last 3 overs. Every Indian was unsure of their team going into semi-final. Virat Kohli seemed more keen on singles than taking risks and putting them away for boundaries. The Mohali pitch was no minefield, but it was not easy either. Then came the 18th over, when he went after James Faulkner, taking 19 runs, turning the game on its head, switching it India’s way. Prior to reaching this close to win, India were getting in doldrums. Both Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni batted grittily, but neither seemed able to get the big hits. It did not matter to Kohli, who remained calm and composed, as the audience went frantic around him. They wanted Kohli on strike, but the great man did not simply get things going. Nobody noticed, before that final onslaught, that he was already batting on a 40-ball 50. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, T20 World Cup 2016, Match 31 at Mohali

India are bothered with the way their opening pair are facing flak in this tournament. Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan proved to be a disappointment yet again, falling in quick succession, exposing the middle-order. Considering India and Australia clash in a virtual quarter-final, the duo have not managed to reach 50 stand between them in this tournament so far. Shikhar and Rohit have carried the tag of best batsman for their entertaining performance in Australia, but have been unable to carry that forward after stop-start performances in Asia Cup. And then you have Suresh Raina, coming with tons of experience from IPL but failing to impress in the tournament. No one can neglect the factor that the Indian bowling was not at its best in the match, apart from Ashish Nehra’s experience coming into the picture.

Ever wondered why the burden falls on Kohli to finish the game? Dhoni still carries the tag of the finisher, but for every Indian it still lies with Kohli in most encounters.

Early in the year, when India started their T20I campaign against Australia, the world witnessed an overall performance. Adding to the list of victory was their successful play against the Lankan Tigers at home and the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Each department excelled in terms of performance, but few carried it over to the initial matches of the World T20, including Kohli and Dhoni. That in turn brought down the hopes of many Indian fans after being deciminated by the Kiwis. Catches went down against Bangladesh, a match India won only after the tourists imploded and lost, almost improbably, by 1 run. READ: Virat Kohli’s India signals out warning for T20 World Cup 2016 semi-finalists

Fireworks were expected when Kohli and Faulkner were going head to head. The explosions were there, but they were too one-sided, with the Indian superstar going after the Australian southpaw, with two boundaries and biggie. That changed the scenario of the match drastically. India were still in the game. Yes, this time around it was Kohli who let his bat do the talking. He had to go out there and play the finisher’s role, comfortably securing 51-ball 82 and named Player of the Match.

The question still remains, when will Shikhar, Rohit and Raina come out in open and let the burden off the shoulders of Kohli? The semi-final is a stage where every member of the team has to be part of the team’s victory, and one man show cannot be a prolonged factor. If the opening pair can seal the momentum for India in the next match, a chunk of the burden will shrug off from Kohli and Dhoni.

As Kohli keeps saying, nobody likes to be in a pressure situation. That is true for most people. His game in the format is not natural; it’s very carefully chiselled and sharpened. And when one department fails to do the job, the game has to be led single-handedly. You do not get to witness Twitter exploding in praise of one individual performance on a regular basis from the who’s who of the world.

Indeed, this has been Kohli’s show.

(Shruti Hariharan is Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)