It has been a year already since that day in Melbourne when Virat Kohli established that he is arguably the greatest chase master in white-ball cricket. In front of 90,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Kohli was wielding magic with the bat, stepping up when the team needed him the most in a tense T20 World Cup match against arch-rivals Pakistan. Virat Kohli celebrates after hitting the winning runs in the T20 World Cup match against Pakistan in Melbourne
India had a lot at stake on that day in Melbourne as they had headed into the match on the back of a 10-wicket defeat to Pakistan a year ago in Dubai. On a helpful surface, Pakistan posted 159 for 8 in 20 overs, riding on fifties from Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed. Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya shone with the ball, picking up 3 wickets each as Pakistan went from 91 for 2 to 120 for 7 before recovering to post a competitive total.
India, however, were in a spot of both early in their chase of 160 as captain Rohit Sharma (4) and opener KL Rahul (4) fell early. Suryakumar Yadav, who walked in at No. 4, departed for 15 as India slipped to 4 for 31 in 6.1 overs. Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya then joined hands to steer India out of trouble against the Pakistan fast-bowling unit that was on fire, hoping to orchestrate India’s downfall in the T20 World Cup for the second successive year.
Virat Kohli 82(53) vs Pakistani 2022 ball by ball highlights and the iconic winning moment pic.twitter.com/LBVwdQFZjz
— Abhinav (@KohliProp) October 22, 2023
However, Kohli stopped the Pakistan charge and chipped away slowly but steadily, steering India toward safety. Hardik Pandya was giving his former captain great company as the two batters 113 runs for the 4th wicket to keep India in the hunt.
Despite the partnership, the impact of the early blows was evident as India struggled to keep up with the asking rate. India needed 48 runs in the last 3 overs and only the sight of Kohli being in the middle kept the belief going for several Indian fans.
Virat Kohli took on young Shaheen Afridi in the 18th over, hitting the left-arm pacer for 3 boundaries. The equation was now 31 from 12 balls. A couple of sixes was needed in the 19th over. However, it did not come as Haris Rauf gave away just 3 runs in the first four deliveries.
The equation now was 28 from 8 deliveries. It looked improbable. A section of Pakistan fans at the MCG began celebrating. However, Virat Kohli did not give up up. The killer blows came. Kohli hit two sixes with two beyond-believable shots in the last two deliveries of the 19th over. Haris Rauf looked shocked. Those were not deliveries that deserved to go the distance. But Kohli made it happen.
16 runs were needed in the last over and Hardik Pandya got out in the first delivery, leaving R Ashwin with Virat Kohli in the middle. India got past the finish line after Kohli hit another six. It was a tense finish that was worthy of an India vs Pakistan contest at the T20 World Cup.
“Well, it’s a surreal atmosphere. I honestly have no words. I have no idea how that happened. Hardik kept telling me, to just believe we can stay till the end. I’m lost for words,” Virat Kohli said after the magical knock.