Lendl Simmons, the hero of West Indies victory over India in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 semi-final, has revealed how a “very arrogant” Virat Kohli motivated him to play a match-winning knock at Wankhede. Virat Kohli’s 47-ball 89 classic batting performance to India posted 192/2 on the board but Lendl Simmons slammed a fluent 51-ball 82 to power West Indies to a seven-wicket win semi-final at the Wankhede.
The West Indies also went on to win the World T20 title for the second time by beating England in the final. Lendl Simmons said, in that match he was fired up by Virat Kohli’s on field aggressive behaviour.
Lendl Simmons told ESPNCricinfo, “When he fielded, he said something to me, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to show you you’re not the only good batsman.'” The batsman also reckons Kohli kept throwing the ball at his end to try and get under his skin. “That’s the way he is. He’s very arrogant, he’s very aggressive when he fields, and when he bats as well. He’s just a very aggressive person.”
Simmons added, “Those things motivate our players and it certainly motivated me. That really urged me to bat the way I did – to show him that he’s not the only one who can do it. That played a big role.”
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Simmons rates that knock against India being the highlight of his career. “Every cricketer has his day and you just need to cash in when it is your day. I took full opportunity of that (caught off no-balls) to bat until the end. It was mind-blowing doing that with all those people supporting India and being very loud. It was the highlight of my career,” he said.
Simmons also reflected on Kohli’s innings and said that he followed a similar pattern to take the team to victory.
“When India chase, one of their top batsmen bats deep – that was my role, batting in the middle overs, especially because I play spin well. I know they didn’t have any good death bowlers, so with Russell, Bravo and Sammy to come once we passed the middle overs, those guys could always come out and finish,” Lendl Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.
Lendl Simmons progress his luck in the World T20 semi-final. He was twice caught off no-balls. He blasted 5 sixes and 7 fours in his first match of the tournament, having replaced an injured Andre Fletcher.