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Faisal KAMAL

Kohli stars as India beat Bangladesh to stand on brink of T20 semi-finals

India's Virat Kohli celebrates reaching his half-century. ©AFP

Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) - Virat Kohli became the highest run-scorer in Twenty20 World Cup history Wednesday as India edged Bangladesh by five runs in a crunch rain-hit Twenty20 World Cup clash in Adelaide that went to the last ball.

India go top of Group 2 and can clinch a semi-final spot with a win against Zimbabwe in their final Group 2 match on Sunday after Bangladesh faltered in their revised chase of 151 in 16 overs.

Kohli's unbeaten 64 had steered India to 184-6 but Bangladesh had looked on course for victory after racing to 66-0 in seven overs when rain stopped play causing four overs to be lost.

Opener Liton Das hit a 27-ball 60 but his run out after the 50-minute interruption heralded a Bangladesh collapse and ended on 145-6.

"It was another good day with the bat I guess," said Kohli who is back to his best after enduring a long fallow form period.

"I was trying to play myself into the innings.I'm just in a happy space, I don't want to compare anything.What's in the past is in the past," he said.  

Needing 20 off the final over, Nurul Hasan gave them hope with a six and a four but left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh held his nerve on the last ball to hand India their third win in four matches.

It leaves Bangladesh all but out of the semi-finals picture.

"It's been the story when we play India," lamented captain Shakib Al Hasan. 

"We're almost there but don't cross the line.It was a great game, the crowd enjoyed, both teams enjoyed, in the end someone has to win and someone has to lose."

Das gave the team a blazing start, reaching his fifty in 21 balls, but once he fell to KL Rahul's direct hit India came roaring back.

Arshdeep struck twice in one over including the prize of captain Shakib Al Hasan for 13 to turn the tables.

Hardik Pandya took two wickets in the 13th over as Bangladesh slumped from 98-2 to 108-6 and despite Hasan's 14-ball 25, fell short.

"Liton is batting really well, probably he's our best batsman going around," said Shakib."We thought we could chase this down after that start." 

'Grinning from ear to ear'

It was Kohli, who hit an unbeaten 64, and KL Rahul with a blazing 50 that set up India's victory with a stand of 67.

In the process, Kohli overtook former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene's total of 1,016 runs to become the highest scorer in T20 World Cup history.Jayawardene set his mark from 31 innings but Kohli took only 23 to pass him.

"As soon as I knew the World Cup was in Australia, I was grinning from ear to ear," said Kohli, who clearly loves batting on the faster wickets.l

"I knew good cricketing shots would be the key.I knew the kind of experience and game awareness of having played in Australia will come in handy for the team." 

Kohli, who had already hit two match-winning half-centuries at this World Cup, reached his third fifty in 37 balls to bring alive the Indian-dominated crowd at the Adelaide Oval.

"I absolutely love playing in this ground," said Kohli."It's like I'm meant to come to Adelaide and enjoy my batting."

Rohit Sharma went cheaply for two after Bangladesh elected to field but Rahul went on the counter-attack to regain his batting touch with a flurry of boundaries.

Rahul, who had scored just 22 runs in the previous three matches, smashed two sixes and a four in a 24-run ninth over.He reached 50 off Shakib but fell on the next ball from the left-arm spinner after hitting three fours and four sixes.

Suryakumar Yadav joined Kohli to keep up the attack, nonchalantly hitting the ball to all parts before Shakib struck again when he had made 30 off 16 balls.

Kohli anchored the innings and Ravichandran Ashwin enjoyed himself in a six-ball cameo for 13 that included a six and four in the final over.

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