The Barabati Stadium at Cuttack sunk into despair as Virat Kohli departed with India needing 30 from 4 overs and the tail to salvage them. The chase master has had a major influence in India chasing 300-plus totals. In the last 10 years, India had chased 9 totals in excess of 300 before this and Kohli had made seven centuries in those games.

In the last five years, he had never gotten out in the 80s or 90s in a run-chase in ODIs. So at Cuttack, as he fell for 85, the hopes set with him, especially with Ravindra Jadeja, despite his recent exploits, not having a good enough match-winning quality with the bat. 

Joining him was Shardul Thakur and as the game headed into the final few moments, one could not but help remember the Indian T20 League finals from May. Then, Dwayne Bravo fell in the penultimate over in a run-chase of 149 and Shane Watson was dismissed in the final over, leaving Jadeja and Thakur to play the winning hand.

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With Lasith Malinga steaming in, Thakur slapped the ball for a couple of runs off the penultimate ball, leaving Chennai to get two runs off one ball. Thakur was then infamously trapped in front off the final delivery to hand Mumbai a title win.

This time around, Thakur was in the mood to make the others forget his epic failure in that game. Off the first ball he faced, Thakur drilled Keemo Paul for a boundary. He would then slam Sheldon Cottrell for a six and a four with the side needing seven runs in the final over.

Jadeja then hit a four and a couple of runs to level scores before a no-ball helped India over the line. Thakur's six-ball 17, as much as Jadeja's 31-ball 39 was crucial as India chased down the target to win a series decider. The two players thereby also buried ghosts of their failed attempt in May against Mumbai in the Indian T20 League. 

In that game, Jadeja did not get time to settle down and make a move whereas here, after his showing in the World Cup semi-final, he could anchor the innings better. Even when Kohli was dismissed, Jadeja seemed confident enough with Thakur joining him.

The Indian pacer had incidentally hit six sixes in an over at school level in 2009, a decade before this. But it is his cameo here that will stand out for the sheer composure he displayed against a quality attack that had taken out the cream of India's batting to take the visitors to the cusp of a win. 

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar