Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

‘I Will Count This One Higher,’ Says Virat Kohli After His 82 Not Out Helps India Beat Pakistan At MCG

‘I Will Count This One Higher,’ Says Virat Kohli After His 82 Not Out Helps India Beat Pakistan At MCG

Chasing 160, India were 31/4 at one stage before Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya forged a 100-plus stand to script India’s win in their ICC T20 World Cup 2022 opener.

Virat Kohli reacts after guiding India to victory against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
Virat Kohli reacts after guiding India to victory against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2022. AP

Virat Kohli admitted that the 82 not out off 53 ball against Pakistan on Sunday at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground has to be the best in the shortest format of the game so far in his career. This was India’s fifth victory over Pakistan in seven matches in ICC T20 World Cups.


Scorecard | Ball-By-Ball Commentary | Cricket News

“Till today I said Mohali was my best T20 innings. Then I got 82 off 52, today I got 82 off 53. Both are just as special. Today I will count this one higher because of the magnitude of the occasion and the situation we were in,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony on Sunday.

When all seemed lost at 31 for four in a stiff chase of 160 at the gargantuan MCG, Kohli thought otherwise and spearheaded India to a remarkable four-wicket win with a knock that will go down as one of the best in the tournament's history.

He found an able ally in star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who contributed an invaluable 40 during a fifth-wicket stand of 113 runs. “All these months when I was struggling, you guys (the crowd) kept me going. Thank you so much.”

Virat Kohli was lost for words after leaving the cricket world speechless with his cricket here on Sunday. In his own words, King Kohli had no idea how he had engineering India's epic win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their blockbuster T20 World Cup face-off.

“Well, it's a surreal atmosphere. I honestly have no words. I have no idea how that happened,” said Kohli after his incredible knock in the team's big-ticket tournament opener. The run-machine added, “Hardik kept telling me, just believe we can stay till the end. I'm lost for words.”

Kohli struck six fours and four sixes during his stay in the middle, effortlessly getting maximums off deliveries bowled at over 150-155kph. Asked when did he decide to shift gears, Kohli said, “Well, I think when Shaheen (Afridi) bowled from the Pavilion end, I told Hardik we have to take him down.

“The calculation was simple. Nawaz had one over to bowl, so if I could take Haris down, they would panic. It came down to 16 off 6. I'm kind of lost for words.”

When asked about his two sixes off Haris Rauf, who pegged India back with his double blows early on, Kohli said, “It's just instinctively I saw it, told myself to stay still. The one at long-on was unexpected, it was a back-of-a-length slower ball. The fine leg one, I just threw my bat at it.”

Captain Rohit Sharma, who was dismissed early alongside KL Rahul, couldn't praise his predecessor enough. “Hats off to Virat. It has to go off as not one of his best, but the best innings he has played for India,” Rohit said.

“I have no voice left. We were always wanting to make sure we stayed in the game as long as possible. We've been talking constantly about it. No matter what the situation, you've got to believe you can pull through, and that partnership changed the game for us.

“There was good carry, good swing as well, and we utilised that well up front. That was good to see from the bowling perspective. They batted well in the middle. We knew it would not be an easy target on that pitch.”

Notwithstanding the situation, the skipper had full faith in Kohli and Hardik. The required run-rate kept increasing even as the duo of Kohli and Hardik looked to revive India after the horror start. But, in the end, India emerged victorious thanks to Kohli's incredible knock.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam gave credit where it was due, after having India on the mat at one stage. “Our bowlers bowled really well. All credit to Kohli and Pandya. It wasn't easy with the new ball. We had partnerships after 10 overs.

“We had a chance. We tried to stick to our plans. But credit to Virat Kohli. In the middle we decided we wanted a wicket and held the spinner back. We had a lot of positives. The way Iftikhar played and the way Shan played,” Babar said.

(With PTI Inputs)


Must Read