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Australia legend Ricky Ponting says Virat Kohli’s back-foot straight six off the bowling of Pakistan speedster Haris Rauf will be remembered as one of the best shots in the history of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Kohli stunned the 90,000-strong crowd at the MCG with the brilliant straight hit that helped India to a thrilling four-wicket final-ball victory over their arch-rival last month and the cricketing world hasn’t stopped talking about the shot since.
The equation for an unlikely India victory was a difficult 28 from eight balls prior to Kohli’s impressive clout and the stunning blow carried a total of 84 metres and sent the parochial India crowd into raptures.
“I’m not sure what all the fuss is about,” Ponting said with a smile while recalling the amazing shot.
“It’s going to go down as one of the most remembered and talked about shots probably in – I won’t say white-ball cricket history – but certainly T20 World Cup history.”
Another maximum from the final ball of the penultimate over meant just 16 was required from the last six balls delivered by spinner Mohammad Nawaz and Ponting says Kohli would have been well aware of the situation Pakistan were facing.
Pakistan’s strong pace attack of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Rauf had all bowled out and Ponting said Kohli judged the situation to perfection.
“They would have known, having done the calculations, that it was going to have to be the spinner that was going to bowl the last over,” Ponting noted.
“That just goes to show how important the last two balls of the 19th over were. They had to get boundaries on those two or the game was done.
“What had sort of happened in the over previous as well, Virat was setting up for something that was going to be full.
“You’re setting up something for that full, that he could smack back down the ground off the front foot.
“He was almost half through his swing and then the length is not there, and he was good enough to hold his shape and find the middle and hit it far enough to get it not just over the fence.”
And while Ponting played his fair share of jaw-dropping shots during his illustrious career, the former Australia captain admitted he had never performed a stroke that could match the stunning six Kohli hit from the bowling of Rauf during his 560 games for his country.
“I didn’t do it,” Ponting said with a laugh.
“I mean, it wasn’t on the back foot, it was just a backfoot length ball.
“He sort of loaded up, his footwork was quite neutral when he hit it.”
Ponting said it was only Kohli’s physical stature that allowed him to play such a difficult shot and that many batting greats wouldn’t have been able to pull off a similar stroke.
“He stood up on top of the bounce of the ball, and there’s a certain degree of skill involved in that but you’ve got to look at the strength involved in a shot like that as well,” Ponting noted.
“All that strength came through his core. You’ve got a steady base and the power to create and play that shot from there, comes through your core.
“We’ve seen him with his cricket gear off, he’s pretty fit.
“There’s a lot of other players that just wouldn’t have been strong enough through their core to do something like that but he’s one of the guys that can.”
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Fast bowler Umran Malik will replace Mohammad Shami in India’s 17-man squad for their three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, beginning on Sunday.


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