On Sunday, Virat Kohli scripted a masterful chase against Pakistan as India sealed a thrilling 4-wicket win in their tournament opener at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Chasing 160, India were reeling at 31/4 in 6.1 overs thanks to a stunning effort from Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah with the new ball.
However, Kohli was a man on a mission as he guided India to a stunning 4-wicket victory with his unbeaten 82 off 53 in the thrilling finish. He combined with Hardik Pandya (40 off 37) to stitch a match-winning partnership of 113 runs.
With a crowd of over 90,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Kohli put on a show and finish with arguably one of his best knocks in a long time.
There were emotions aplenty for the 34-year-old after the match as his teammates rallied around him and lifted him up while he was leaving the field, Kohli said in a conversation with broadcasters Star Sports, “It’s a surreal atmosphere, I have no words, no idea how that happened. I am really lost for words.”
The player of the match opened up about his innings saying, “The calculation was simple. Nawaz had one over to bowl, so if I could take Haris down, they would panic. From 28 in 8, it came down to 16 to 6. I tried to stick to my instincts. The first one was back of a hand slower ball (the one over long-on).”
He added, “Standing here I just feel like it was meant to be. Till today Mohali, the innings against Australia (82 off 51 in the T20 World Cup in 2016) was my best. Today I will count this one higher. Hardik kept pushing me. The crowd has been phenomenal. You guys (fans) kept backing me and I am grateful for your support.”
During the post-match presentation, he also highlighted the crucial role Hardik Pandya played in navigating the tricky, high-pressure chase, he said, “Hardik believed we can do it, if we stayed till the end. When Shaheen bowled from the pavilion end, that’s when we decided to take him down. ”
In the nineteenth over that was bowled by Haris Rauf, who had taken 2/21 in his three-over spell by then, Kohli sent the pacer’s plans in disarray with two incredible back-to-back sixes to score 15 runs in the over and put the pressure back on to Pakistan.