Displaying his batting form to its fullest potential, Virat Kohli was at his spectacular best as he helped India to a victory against Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne. After the match, the veteran batter had a special message for his fans and took to Twitter to state, “Special win. Thank you to all our fans for turning up in numbers.”
Chasing a target of 160 runs, India reached 160 for six in 20 overs with Kohli hammering an unbeaten knock of 82 runs off 53 balls, packed with six fours and four sixes. Such was the importance of his knock that after Ravichandran Ashwin’s winning run in the final delivery of the match, the former captain had a teary-eyed, emotional celebration.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya also played a crucial knock of 40 runs off 37 balls, including one four and two sixes. Mohammad Nawaz and Haris Rauf took two wickets each for Pakistan, and Naseem Shah bagged a dismissal.
Initially, India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bowl. Pakistan posted 159 for eight in 20 overs, with Shan Masood slamming an unbeaten knock of 52 runs off 42 balls, including five fours. Iftikhar Ahmed also played an important knock of 51 runs off 34 balls, with two fours and four sixes.
After the match, Kohli said, “It’s a surreal atmosphere, I have no words, no idea how that happened. I am really lost for words. 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. Haris is their prime bowler, and I hit those two sixes. 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). Standing here I just feel like it was meant to be. Till today Mohali was my best innings against Australia. 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”, he further added.