Virat Kohli on Sunday produced a knock for the ages as he remained unbeaten on 82 off 53 balls to help India pull off a stunning win over Pakistan in their ICC T20 World Cup opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Chasing a target of 160 runs, India were in a tight spot as they lost openers KL Rahul (4) and Rohit Sharma (4) early in the match. Kohli started sedately looking to get the innings back on track.
The wickets of Suryakumar Yadav (15) and Axar Patel (2) further dented India’s chances but Kohli joined hands with Hardik Pandya (40) to pull India out of trouble.
The duo shared a century partnership to keep India’s flickering hopes alive. Kohli turned on the class in the death overs, taking the pace duo of Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf to the cleaners.
The match went in to a tense final over but a no ball from Mohammad Nawaz cost Pakistan dear.
Kohli rated his innings as the best in T20Is during a chat after the match
“Well, it is a surreal atmosphere. I honestly do not have any words, I don’t know how it happened. Hardik kept telling me that just believe, stay till the end. Honestly, I am lost for words. Well, I think when Shaheen bowled from the pavilion end, that’s when I spoke to Virat that we need to take him down and that’s when the conversation happened, where he said Nawaz has to bowl one over. He said that if I can take Haris Rauf down, then they will panic because he is their prime bowler. Well, I was kind of pumping myself up to hit those two sixes. It was 28 off 8 and it became 16 off 6 so I am lost for words.
“It is just instinctively, I saw the ball and told myself to stay still and see the ball. I swung my bat through the line of the ball and I hit six over fine leg. Standing here, it feels like it was meant to be. It is a very special moment.
“Well, till today I have said that Mohali (2016 T20 World Cup) innings against Australia is my best. I got 82 off 52 there and today I got 82 off 53. But I think, today, I will count this one higher because of the magnitude of the game and what the situation was. It seemed impossible, but Hardik kept pushing me in that partnership and we just went deep and it just happened,” an emotional Kohli said after the match.
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