Smith lauds Kohli innings as 'seriously unbelievable'


Steve Smith hailed Virat Kohli for producing a "seriously unbelievable innings under pressure" after the India batsman sent his country through to the World Twenty20 semi-finals at Australia's expense.

Australia appeared to be in with a good chance of defending a total of 160-6 and qualifying for the last four when India were left needing 39 from the last three overs of their chase in Mohali on Sunday.

However, Kohli remained ice-cool and struck seven boundaries in the space of 11 deliveries from James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile, in a sensational display of strokeplay that ensured the hosts completed a six-wicket triumph with a degree of comfort.

Asked what his prevailing emotion was in a post-match news conference, Australia skipper Smith simply replied: "Pretty serious innings."

He added: "I thought we were in a pretty good position at one point there, with them needing about two a ball. I thought 160 was about par on that wicket and it just took a seriously unbelievable innings under pressure from Virat Kohli to get his team over the line.

"It just wasn't to be tonight. It was 'The Virat Show'. He really took over and to get 80 not out off 50 balls on a wicket like that, that was quite slow - and the ball was quite soft at the end there, was quite remarkable.

"He timed his chase to perfection and he's done that so consistently in T20 cricket. I think he averages 60-odd chasing, which is quite remarkable. He played beautifully and hats off to him."

Smith acknowledged Australia could have set a stiffer target after Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch took the score to 53 without loss from just four overs.

"We probably did let ourselves down a little bit in the middle overs ... losing a few wickets in clumps," he reasoned.

India's victory means Australia's wait for a World Twenty20 title goes on, with Smith left to rue an opening-game loss to New Zealand.

"We probably should have won that game, to lose that by eight was quite shattering," he explained. "And then we were always sort of chasing our tail from there - we had to win every game we played and in Twenty20 cricket that's quite hard sometimes.

"All it takes is one player going off like tonight to turn the course of the game."