It was a magnificent effort from Virat Kohli that guided India to a famous victory over Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match on Sunday. Kohli remained unbeaten on 82 off 53 deliveries, smashing six fours and four sixes to take India to victory against their arch-rivals in Melbourne. Chasing a 160-run target, India were in a spot of bother when the side was reduced to 31/4 in 6.1 overs, having lost the crucial wickets of both openers KL Rahul (4) and Rohit Sharma (4), as well as in-form batter Suryakumar Yadav (15) and Axar Patel (2).
However, Kohli, alongside Hardik Pandya (40), revived the Indian innings as the duo forged a 113-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking the side out of trouble. Kohli did the majority of the hitting after he shifted the gears in the 18th over of the game, smashing Shaheen Afridi for three fours before hitting two successive sixes against Haris Rauf in the next over.
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With 16 needed off the final six deliveries to win the game, Kohli smashed a six off Mohammad Nawaz before Ravichandran Ashwin hit the winning runs in the final ball of the over.
Kohli was justifiably named the player of the match for his emphatic knock in Melbourne, and following the game, he was “lost for words” as he described his innings in an interview with Ravi Shastri. The Indian batter was visibly emotional after India’s win in the game.
“It’s a surreal atmosphere. I have no words, no idea how it happened. Hardik kept telling me to believe, and stay till the end. Honestly, I’m lost for words,” said Kohli.
Talking about his knock in detail, Kohli said that he decided to shift gears when Shaheen Afridi came into the attack. “I think when Shaheen bowled from pavilion end, then I spoke to Hardik that we need to take him down. Then, the conversation was that he said Nawaz had to bowl one over. So I told him if I can take Haris down, they will panic. Because he is their prime bowler,” said Kohli.
The 33-year-old star batter also stated that the unbeaten 82-run knock against Pakistan has trumped his match-winning innings against Australia in the 2016 T20 World Cup in Mohali.
“Till today, I always said that Mohali was my best innings against Australia. I got 82 off 52, today, I got 82 off 53. They are exactly the same innings, but I’ll count today’s innings higher, just because of the magnitude of the game, and what the situation was. It seemed impossible, but then, Hardik kept pushing me,” said Kohli.
India will return to action for the second match of their T20 World Cup campaign on October 27, when the side takes on the Netherlands in Sydney.