T20I WC: Kohli, Pandya power India to victory vs Paktext_fields
Melbourne: Indian star batter Virat Kohli held bats with all rounder Hardik Pandya to take India to victory in their T20I World Cup 2022, opening match against a strong Pakistan squad. India registered a four-wicket win in the thrilling Super 12 match.
The match went completely tight after India lost its openers in just 10 runs in the chase against Pakistan, who posed a modest 160 target for the Men-in-Blue. After 10 overs, India were just 44 runs and had lost 4 wickets. But Virat Kohli, who was the third-man-in, rooted the team from being swept away, with patience.
It was undoubtedly Virat Kohli's day, though he had meritorious assistance from Hardik Pandya. Both took the team from 31/4 to the 20th over, when India needed 16 from 6 balls. Kohli (82 off 52) with Pandya (40 off 37) added 113 runs from 77 balls to lift India on track.
Both hit Pak spinner Mohammad Nawaz mercilessly in his three overs since India found it very difficult to find score from other bowlers. At 18.4 overs, it was almost set that India was going to lose the match after Haris Rauf continued his tight bowling even at the penultimate over. He had taken two of India's wickets earlier too.
However, Kohli rose like a rising sun and hit the Pak star bowler over the fences twice in the last two balls of the 19th over, giving India severe relief.
Spinner Nawaz, who had been hit earlier, was the only option remaining for Pakistan to bowl the last over. But Hardik Pandya fell into Rauf's trap giving a catch to Babar Azam, hammering a stake into Indian fans' hearts.
Then, India's star finisher Dinesh Kartik (DK) entered and took the strike, and he was only able to take a single the next ball. Kohli ran twice in the next ball, scoring just two. When everything was going towards Pak, Nawaz bowled a no-ball above the hip to Kohli, which he connected to the boundary as a six. The next ball went wide, and in the free hit, Kohli ran for three after he swung and missed, and the ball undid the stumps.
DK, who came next to strike when 2 runs were needed from 2 balls, went for a sweep which erred, and the Pak keeper stumped him. That was when Ravichandran Ashwin entered at the strike. Ashwin, who has experience as a finisher, avoided a ball that turned wide behind him and India needed 1 from 1. Ashwin lifted the next delivery above the mid-off to an easy boundary scoring the winning runs.
Earlier, India won the toss and sent Pak to bat first. Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya took three wickets each to restrict Pak to 159/8.
Brief scores: Pakistan 159/8 in 20 overs (Shan Masood 52 not out, Iftikhar Ahmed 51; Hardik Pandya 3/30, Arshdeep Singh 3/32) lost to India 160/6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 82 not out, Hardik Pandya 40; Haris Rauf 2/36, Mohammad Nawaz 2/42) by four wickets