Did Virat Kohli Truly Deserve The Man Of The Match Award For His T20 World Cup 2024 Final Knock

“It was a now or never..” moment for the Indian batting superstar Virat Kohli as he played an instrumental role in the Indian cricket team’s win in the T20I World Cup 2024 final match against South Africa.

“It was a now or never..” moment for the Indian batting superstar Virat Kohli as he played an instrumental role in the Indian cricket team’s win in the T20I World Cup 2024 final match against South Africa.

It was a dreamy end to Kohli’s glorious T20I career as he not only lifted the prestigious ICC World Cup trophy with his team but also won the Player of the Match award in the final.

Virat Kohli was struggling to score runs throughout the tournament, however, during the final match of the T20 World Cup 2024, his bat finally listened to him.

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Coming out to open the innings with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli found himself in an intense situation. After India lost three early wickets, Virat Kohli kept the team alive in the game at the halfway mark. Virat played an anchor inning and brought the much-needed momentum back to the game by forming crucial partnerships, first with Axar Patel (47 runs off 31 balls) and then with Shivam Dube (27 runs off 16 balls).

Did Virat Kohli Truly Deserve The Man Of The Match Award For His T20 World Cup 2024 Final Knock

Kohli’s knock of 76 off 59 balls guided the Indian team to a fighting total of 176 for seven in 20 overs.

After the match, Virat Kohli was awarded the Player of the Match award for his crucial knock. While collecting his award, Kohli didn’t hold his emotions as he expressed what that win meant to him. He said:

“Just the occasion. It was now or never I knew. This is…my last T20 game playing for India. It’s the last World Cup I was going to play, so I wanted to make the most of it and this was our aim.” Kohli said after the match.

He added: “We wanted to win an ICC tournament. We wanted to lift the cup and as I said it was the occasion that helped me to put my head down and just respect the situation rather than trying to force things out there and really play the game that my team wanted me to play.”’

Did Virat Kohli Truly Deserve The Man Of The Match Award?

While Kohli rescued the Indian team from a difficult situation, many felt that he was way too slow with the bat. On a batting-friendly pitch, Kohli started his knock strongly by smashing three boundaries in the first over, however, he went without hitting another boundary from over five to seventeen.

Virat Kohli swiftly adapted to the situation and single-handedly rebuilt the Indian innings amid a flurry of wickets falling at the other end. Undoubtedly crucial in the match’s context, Virat Kohli played an instrumental innings, yet the debate continues: did he truly deserve the Player of the Match award?

Did Virat Kohli Truly Deserve The Man Of The Match Award For His T20 World Cup 2024 Final Knock

Many feel that while Kohli played a vital knock, it was the Indian bowlers who won us the final clash against South Africa. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Arshdeep Singh produced some lethal death bowling spells to restrict the dangerous-looking South African batters.

While Arshdeep conceded just 20 runs in his four overs and picked up 2 wickets, on the other hand, Jasprit Bumrah gave away only 18 runs in his four-over spell, including six runs in his last two overs. He also picked 2 wickets.

Hardik Pandya also played an instrumental role as he gave away only 20 runs in his three overs and dismissed two of the most dangerous Proteas batters – Heinrich Klassen and David Miller, at a crucial stage to bring team India back to the game.

With 30 runs needed off the last 30 balls, everyone felt that the game was over for India, however, the Indian bowlers turned the tables for good and helped the side to end the tournament on high.

In fact, in a post-match show on ESPNCricinfo, Manjrekar suggested that Kohli’s knock in a spot of bother before the pace bowlers came to the rescue. He said:

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.”

He added: “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.”

 

Former Zimbabwe cricketer, Andy Flower, however, had a slightly different perspective. As per him, team India had done enough with the bat by putting a total of 176 runs on the board, however, he also admitted that had India lost the match, Kohli would have faced plenty of criticism.

If India had been pipped there, there would’ve been a lot of criticism going Virat Kohli’s way, I’d reckon. At the halfway mark, I thought India had enough, and that it was going to be a very difficult chase for South Africa.”

T20 World Cup 2007 Final Recap

In 2007, during India’s T20 World Cup win, Gautam Gambhir scored 75 runs off 54 balls but didn’t receive the Player of the Match award. Instead, Irfan Pathan got it for his crucial 3 wickets for 16 runs. Even though the batters set the stage, it was the bowlers who clinched the win for the team.

In both the games, the bowlers played a crucial role, however, in the 2007 T20 World Cup Irfan Pathan was awarded Player of the Game, however, in 2024 it was a similar situation but the Player of the Match was awarded to Virat Kohli. So the question remains the same: did Kohli truly deserve the Player of the Match award?