Tomorrow (March 27), India and Australia face off at Mohali's PCA Stadium with the winner set to go to the semi-finals of World T20 as the 2nd placed team from Group 2. New Zealand topped the group with an all-win record (4 out of 4).
Australians, known for their pre-match mind games, were at it again. This time, it was former paceman Johnson. (Can't urge fans to behave: Kohli)
Replying to a headline from Cricket Australia's (CA) tweet where it read of Kohi's statement "If anything, that motivates me more', Johnson questioned where the batsman was in last year's ICC World Cup semi-final which Australia won. (Kohli praises Dhoni)
"Love it!! Went missing in WC semi last yr when it really counts," Johnson wrote on his Twitter page in response to CA's tweet. (Johnson-Kohli sledging battle)
Kohli had got out to Johnson in Sydney in World Cup semi-final for just 1 run as India failed to chase 329. They went down by 95 runs, exactly a year ago to this day (March 26, 2015). Australia eventually won the trophy, beating New Zealand.
During India's tour to Australia in 2014, Johnson and Kohli were involved in on-field altercations. In a Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Johnson's throw had hit Kohli.
Some of the Indian fans attacked Johnson for his tweet and later the left-armer justified his comment by writing, "Sticks & Stones........ They are only words people! We all have different thoughts and may not agree on everything. Smile."
In his pre-match press conference on Saturday (March 26), Kohli had said he is motivated to do well against a "very strong" Australian side.
"Debate on the field or not, it doesn't really matter with me. I'm pretty sure of the plans I take into the middle but if I get into a little bit (of debate) with anyone, and if I have to take a certain stand, that doesn't necessarily put me off my game," Kohli said.
"If anything, that motivates me more. But it doesn't mean that if I don't get to get into a debate with someone that I won't be motivated to win the game for my team.
"That's something that I've come to terms with that not every team is going to have a go at you so it's better to plan your innings without that situation and if that situation comes in you have to take it as more fuel to the fire to actually take in with you.
"Australia is a side that we all know is a very strong side. They play with a lot of passion and I believe in playing the same way so I like that challenge," he added.
Love it!! Went missing in WC semi last yr when it really counts 👍🏼 https://t.co/ZwxkjCMEPB— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) March 26, 2016
Sticks & Stones........ They are only words people! We all have different thoughts and may not agree on everything. Smile 😀— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) March 26, 2016