T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli the Superman as India clinch a thriller against Pakistan

India beat Pakistan by four wickets in a dramatic last-over finish, thanks to Kohli's majestic 82 not out


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Virat Kohli plays a shot during his match-winning knock against Pakistan. (ICC Twitter)
Virat Kohli plays a shot during his match-winning knock against Pakistan. (ICC Twitter)

Published: Sun 23 Oct 2022, 6:27 PM

Last updated: Sun 23 Oct 2022, 7:34 PM

Virat Kohli played the greatest knock of his T20 career as India clinched a humdinger at the ICC T20 World Cup on Sunday, beating arch-rivals Pakistan by four wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Chasing 160, India were in deep trouble after being reduced to 31 for four in the seventh over.

But Kohli (82 not out, 53 balls, 6 fours, 4 sixes) and Hardik Pandya (40, 37 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes) brought India back into the contest with a stirring fifth wicket partnership.

India still needed 31 runs from 12 balls when the dangerous Haris Rauf (4-0-36-2) was brought back into the attack.

Rauf had things under control for Pakistan, giving away just three runs in the first four balls with India needing 28 off eight balls.

But Kohli turned the match on its heads with two stunning sixes in the next two balls, the first was punched off the back foot over the back of the bowler's head and the second over the fine leg boundary with a magical roll of the wrists.

With 16 needed from the last over, Mohammad Nawaz dismissed Pandya in the first ball after the batter mis-timed a pull.

But Kohli hit the third ball, a waist-high full toss that was later called a no-ball, for a six over the mid-wicket fence, bringing the equation down to just six runs from three balls.

Reeling under the pressure, Nawaz followed that up with a wide.

The Pakistani all-rounder then bowled Kohli in the next ball, but it was a free-hit and Kohli and Dinesh Karthik ran three before the throw came back from the third man.

Now India needed two off three balls.

But there was more drama as Karthik was stumped after missing the line which brought Ravichandran Ashwin into the crease.

With Kohli stranded in the non-striker's end, Pakistan got a whiff of a chance with new man Ashwin on strike.

But Nawaz bowled a wide, helping India level the score.

Ashwin then kept his calm and hit the final ball over the in-field for a single as India won against all odds.

Pakistan innings

Despite brilliant half-centuries from Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed, India managed to restrict Pakistan to a modest total of 159/8.

Iftikhar (51, 34 balls, 2 fours, 4 sixes) walked into bat in the fourth over after Arshdeep Singh (4-0-32-3) gave India a dream start, removing Pakistan star openers, captain Babar Azam for a golden duck and Mohammad Rizwan for four.

The Indian bowlers were still dominating the contest under overcast conditions when Iftikhar joined number three Shan Masood (52 not out, 42 balls, 5 fours).

But once Rohit Sharma, who opted to bowl after winning the toss, brought the two spinners into the attack, Iftikhar began to play his big shots.

The 32-year-old all-rounder used his feet, hitting three sixes against Axar Patel and one against Ravichandran Ashwin.

But his dismissal by Mohammed Shami (4-0-25-1) against the run of play sparked Pakistan collapse as Babar's team slumped to 91 for two 98 for five in the space of 10 balls.

Hardik Pandya (4-0-30-3) brought India back into the contest after Shami got the dangerous Iftikhar, removing Shadab Khan (5), Haider Ali (2) and Mohammad Nawaz (9).

With more than 100,000 fans watching the game at the iconic MCG, Pakistan batsmen succumbed to the pressure.

Masood cut a frustrating figure as Pakistan's paid the price for their poor shot selection.

The 2009 champions failed to capitalise on the wonderful third-wicket partnership between Masood and Iftikhar.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 159/8 in 20 overs (S. Masood 52 not out, I. Ahmed 51, S. Afridi 16; Pandya 3-30, Singh 3-32, Kumar 1-22, Shami 1-25)

India 160/6 in 20 overs (V. Kohli 82 not out, H. Pandya 40; Rauf 2-36, Nawaz 2-42, Shah 1-23)

Toss: India

Result: India won by four wickets


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