India edged past Pakistan by four wickets in their 2022 T20 World Cup campaign opener at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. Pakistan stayed in the game for long but Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 82 off 53 balls saw India eventually clinching the last-ball thriller. In pursuit of a 160-run target, India lost their first four wickets for 31 runs in 6.1 overs. This is when Kohli stitched a 113-run partnership with Hardik Pandya for the fifth wicket to keep India in the hunt and made sure he stayed there till the end of the game.
It is worth noting that Kohli had failed to maintain consistency in his batting in the first seven to eight months this year, but the Asia Cup saw him emerge as a better batter. He was the second-highest scorer in the tournament.
Kohli played some good knocks post that but he was still not at his very best. However, the 82-run knock against Pakistan on Sunday saw a flawless and vintage Kohli.
Talking about his innings, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam too was all praise. He feels that such knocks give a lot of confidence and increase the mental level of players.
“He was struggling (earlier) and made a comeback, and now a big innings like this would must increase his confidence. When you win such matches for your side, you get a lot of confidence and your mental level also increases,” said Babar in Hindi at the press conference.
Talking about Sunday’s game, India needed 28 runs off the last 8 balls and the match seemed to be slipping out of their hands. This is when Kohli slammed Haris Rauf for two consecutive sixes to take the equation down to 16 needed off 6 balls.
In the last over too, Kohli hit a six off Mohammad Nawaz to keep India in the hunt. The side eventually won the game on the last ball.