The India v Pakistan clash in the T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on October 22, 2022, will go down as one of the most exciting matches between the two teams. In what can only be called one of the greatest comebacks by the Men in Blue, thanks to Virat Kohli.
Pakistan had batted first in that clash after winning the toss and was on a high after defeating India once in the Asia Cup a month earlier. Thanks to half-centuries from Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed, Pakistan posted 159/8 in 20 overs. For India, Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya had taken three wickets apiece.
In reply, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf dismissed the openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul respectively for 4 runs each and Rauf accounted for the dangerous Suryakumar Yadav for 15 runs. India barely managed 50 runs in 10 overs and needed more than 100 in the last 10 to win the match.
But then Kohli stepped up and added 113 runs in 78 balls with Hardik Pandya for the 5th wicket.
Talking about the same, Virat Kohli said at an event: “I still can’t make any sense of it. That’s a very honest admission. And a lot of people have tried to ask me what were you thinking, how did you plan and I have no answers. The fact of the matter is that I was so much under pressure that my mind had shut off completely by the 12th or 13th over.”
He further added that he had forgotten whatever advice he had received from coach Rahul Dravid when he talked to him during the break.
“I was going through what I was going through, then I came back in the Asia Cup and I was playing well and I felt like ‘Wow I’m ready to play in this World Cup’. At the 10th over mark, we were 31 for 4 and I had just run Axar out. I was 12 off 25 balls or something. I remember in the break, Rahul bhai came to me and I don’t remember what he said. I swear and I even told him this as well. I told him, ‘I have no idea what you told me in that break because I was zoned out’,” said Kohli at a Puma event.
Virat Kohli first hit Shaheen Afridi for three fours in the 18th over and after Haris Rauf had bowled four brilliant balls in the 19th over, India needed 28 runs in 8 balls.
This is when Virat Kohli showed his experienced and class as he hit a length ball at stump height for six straight over the bowler’s head for a six. Rauf then bowled even faster and Kohli flicked his ball over the fine leg for a six.
Kohli talked about those two shots off Rauf: “My mind was spinning so fast…I was like this is worse than it was before. I had spiraled down so far down that there is no comeback from here and that was my honest feeling at the halfway mark. That is when my instinct took over. So, when I stopped thinking and planning, whatever God-given talent I have came to the surface, and then I felt like something higher was guiding me.
I can’t claim any of that. I was trying to do it before as well but it wasn’t working. The lesson for me was to stop using your mind so much because it pushes you away from real magic. What happened that night, I can never explain it and it won’t happen ever again.”
India needed 16 runs in the last over and though they lost Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik, a six off a no-ball by Virat Kohli off Mohammad Nawaz and then three runs off the free hit, brought India closer to the win. R Ashwin then hit the winning runs off the last ball, to give India a famous win.
(Indian Express inputs)