Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Star batsman Virat Kohli was adjudged man of the match in the final of the recently-concluded T20 World Cup 2024 against South Africa for his match winning knock.

When India had lost three early wickets, Kohli turned into damaged control mode to play one of the  best innings of his career.

However, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar wasn’t quite happy with the knock, for which Kohli was given the Player of the Match award. The former cricketer re-ignited the ‘strike rate’ debate.

According to Manjrekar, Kohli was bit too slow in his knock, which not only left Hardik Pandya, India’s in-form middle-order batter, with just two balls to face, but also left the team in a precarious spot.

“By playing that innings, Hardik Pandya, one of their most devastating batters, had just two balls to face. So I thought India’s batting was good, but Virat Kohli had potentially played an innings that would’ve put India in a tight corner. And it almost proved to be that, before these guys’ bowlers came in the end,” said Manjrekar.

He reckoned that had it not been for the bowlers in the death overs, the Men in Blue would have lost the final against South Africa. As per him, a bowler should have been adjudged as the Player of the Match, rather than Kohli.

“India were in a losing position, 90 percent winning chances (for South Africa). The complete turnaround actually saved Virat Kohli’s innings because he played virtually half the innings with a strike-rate of 128. My Player of the Match would’ve been a bowler because they actually took the game from the jaws of defeat and won it for India,” he added.

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