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“Bowlers Saved Virat Kohli”: Sanjay Manjrekar Says India Star Didn’t Deserve POTM Award

The T20 World Cup 2024 final continues to produce topics of debate. India’s victory against South Africa wasn’t a straightforward one, with the bowlers’ late heroics pulling the team back into the game. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Arshdeep Singh’s death bowling rescued India from a situation where South Africa needed just 30 runs from 30 balls to win the match. But, the Indian team eventually emerged triumphant by 7 runs, thanks to the bowling trio. However, the Player of the Match went to Virat Kohli, much to the surprise of former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar.

In a post-match show on ESPNCricinfo, Manjrekar suggested that Kohli’s knock of 76 runs off 59 balls put India in a spot of bother before the pace bowlers came to the rescue. Manjrekar also said that his choice for the Player of the Match would’ve been an Indian bowler, not Kohli

“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.

“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,” Manjrekar said.

Former Zimbabwe cricketer, Andy Flower, however, had a slightly different perspective. According to him, India had done enough with the bat by putting a total of 176 runs on the board. But, he did admit that had Rohit Sharma’s men lost the match, Kohli would’ve courted 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,” he said

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