Incredible Virat Kohli powers India to 4-wicket win over Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cup 2022 

Virat Kohli (right) and Hardik Pandya powered India to a sensational win, one for the ages, in Melbourne in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 opener

Virat Kohli produced an innings of a lifetime at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday night to help India defeat Pakistan by 4 wickets in what will go down in history as one of the most thrilling T20 international matches played in the history of the ICC T20 World Cup. 

Virat Kohli remained unbeaten on 82 as India chased the target of 160 with four wickets in hand and on the final ball of the contest, in which both the teams had their moments but the batting maestro stood tall with his incredible knock that redefined his class and command. 

Not long ago, this modern day batting great was struggling for runs and critics had begun writing eulogies on his chequered career. But Virat Kohli, who, not long ago, recorded as 71st international hundred in the final match of India’s disappointing campaign in the Asia Cup 2022, once again reminded them of his mettle and domination at the biggest stage in the world with yet another super little knock – one that he termed later on as his best so far in the format.

It was not just Virat Kohli’s innings that was incredible on Sunday night as India came back fighting hard in the chase as they were reeling at 31/4 around the 8th over of their chase.

The 2007 champions needed 115 runs in the final 10 overs but a sturdy partnership of 113 runs from just 78 balls between Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya for the fifth wicket brought them back on track to win, with both these batsmen scoring the most of the 48 runs which India needed of the final 3 overs or 18 balls.

Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya decided to attack the bowler who had troubled Indian most in recent times with the Shaheen Shah Afridi being hit for 2 boundaries in the 18th over as India collected 17 runs to bring the equation down to 31 needed off 12 balls.

After Haris Rauf conceded just 3 runs of the first 4 balls of the 19th over, Virat Kohli produced a stunning stroke, hitting the fast bowler over his head for a straight six into the sight screen. 

Virat Kohli, who admitted that India’s chances were not bright at one stage and it was Hardik Pandya who kept on insisting him to believe, followed it up with a brilliant flick of the wrist on the leg side to collect the second six of the 19th over to bring the equation down to 16 needed off the final over.

It was a dramatic finish with Hardik Pandya falling to Mohammad Nawaz on the first ball, falling for a well-made 37-ball 40, but Virat Kohli did not miss on connecting the fourth ball of the over which was deemed a no ball for height, since the left-arm Pakistani spinner had bowled a full toss over the waist to the Indian batsman. 

Virat Kohli had smashed the ball for a six, following which Mohammad Nawaz bowled a wide on the off-side, which brought the equation down to 5 runs needed of 3 balls and a free-hit delivery yet to be bowled.

Mohammad Nawaz dismissed Virat Kohli with the ball hitting the off stump but the Indians — Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik — scampered for 3 runs past the short third man and the umpires declared it bye. 

With 2 runs needed off as many balls, there was more drama with Dinesh Karthik being stumped but Ravichandran Ashwin kept his cool to hit the final delivery over mid-on to score the winning runs for India.

Earlier in the contest, it was Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya taking 3 wickets each to rattle Pakistan. The left-arm fast bowler Arshdeep Singh accounted for the star Pakistani opening pair of Babar Azam (0) and Mohammad Rizwan (4), whereas Hardik Pandya once again terrorised the Pakistani batsmen with short pitched bowling.

Pakistan were struggling at one stage but Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed teamed up to add 76 runs for the third wicket, with both the batsmen scoring their respective half-centuries. 

While Shan Masood remained unbeaten on 52 off 42 balls with just 5 fours, the senior pro in Iftikhar Ahmed showed his aggressive intent, hitting 4 sixes and 2 fours to make 51 off only 34 balls. 

Towards the end, Shaheen Shah Afridi smacked a six and a four to push Pakistan’s total to 159/8 after India captain Rohit Sharma had won the toss and invited the opponents to bat first.