Virat Kohli gave India an early Deepavali gift with an explosive performance to defeat archrivals Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 in Melbourne today.
India faced Babar Azam’s Pakistan in their Super 12 opening match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Winning the toss, India put Pakistan in to bat first. The men in green finished at 159/8, courtesy of fifties from Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed as well as some late hitting from Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.
India lost early wickets before a century partnership between Kohli and Hardik Pandya turned the run chase around and some great hitting from Kohli at the end led the Men in Blue to their sixth win over Pakistan in T20Is.
Kohli's unbeaten knock of 82 anchored the Indian chase and in the end, it was his class that helped India triumph over Pakistan.
India looked down and out at 31 for 4 when Pandya joined Kohli at the crease. The duo took their time initially and did not panic even when the required run rate went above 11 an over. The 12th over which shifted the momentum towards India where they got 20, hitting three sixes off Pakistan's left arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
With 50 needed in the last three overs, Kohli started finding the boundary effortlessly, with two consecutive sixes off Pakistan's T20 specialist Haris Rauf in the 19th over leaving the Men in Blue needing 16 from the last over.
Pandya was dismissed on the very first ball of the last over but Kohli kept his cool and ensured his side got over the line.
Earlier, Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya took three wickets each as India restricted Pakistan to 159/8 in 20 overs.
Pandya ended up with brilliant figures of 4-30-3 and took the wickets of Haider Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan. Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed scored crucial fifties for Pakistan.
For India, Arshdeep Singh provided India with a brilliant start and sent both Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam quickly back to the hut. Pakistan then staged a comeback with Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed's crucial knocks. However, Shami removed Ahmed, while Pandya removed Pakistan's middle order.