Virat Kohli has helped India pull off one of the greatest chases against Pakistan in T20I cricket, thumping an unbeaten 82 to seal a five-wicket win.
The men in blue were in big trouble as they had lost four batters on 31, but a partnership of 113 between Kohli and Pandya brought India back in the game, Pandya was dismissed in the process though, but the ex-skipper remained unbeaten and handed India another memorable victory.
Earlier, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood scored fifty runs each to help Pakistan register 159 in 20 overs.
IND Vs PAK Match Highlights
Invited to bat, Pakistani batters faced a lot of heat especially from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose swinging balls both the sides was very difficult to judge by the neighbours.
Kumar gave just one in the over and haunted Rizwan with his in-swing last delivery that hits his pads.
The young Arshdeep Singh make the most out of the pressure created by Bhuvi by removing Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam on the very first ball of second over.
Indian bowlers continued with their fiery bowling and didn’t allow the Pakistani batters to open the arms during powerplay overs, as a result they only managed to post 32 for 2 on board in 6 overs.
Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed, however, resurrected the innings by adding 76 for the third wicket.
Ifhtikhar described his intention in the 12th over by smashing 3 sixes off Axar Patel, but he didn’t go long as Shami removed him for 51.
Pakistan then witnessed another setback as they lost their 2 dependable batters, Shadab Khan and Haider Ali in one over. Hardik then removed Mohammad Nawaz in the 16th over.
With 116 for 6 in 16 overs, the men in green were planning to add as many runs as possible in the final four overs. But, Arshdeep yet again strikes. He bowled a scorching bouncer to Asif Ali that Ali was unable to counter.
However, a small cameo of Shaheen Shah Afridi (16 off8) and Shan Masood’s unbeaten knock of 52 off 42 helped the side to post 159 on board in 20 overs.
India to chase 160 in 20 overs
It was not the start what India needed in a high-voltage game. KL Rahul was removed by Naseem Shah in the second over in a similar fashion how he did it in the Asia Cup game.
Haris Rauf then dismissed Indian skipper and then the top-ranked Indian batter in T20Is, Suryakumar Yadav.
Struggling at 26 for 3, India sent Axar Patel instead of Hardik Pandya that didn’t work out as a fumble between Virat and Axar forced latter to walk back to pavilion.
India only managed to record 45 in 10 overs and still required 115 in the final 10 with just 6 wickets in hand.
The veteran Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya then steadied the ship with a 113-run partnership.
With the help of both players, India touched the 100-run mark in 15. They, however still needed 60 off 30 balls.
They collected 12 off the 16th and 17th overs combined. And the required rate goes up to 16 then. India needed 48 off 16 and Virat then started to control the game with boundaries.
28 off 8 with the ball in hands of death over specialist Haris Rauf, Kohli smashed 2 consecutive sixes to bring the equation into manageable form.
The dramatic final over
The pressure then shifted towards Pakistan as bowl was in the hand of spinner Nawaz and he had to defend 16 off the final over.
Nawaz, however, had his plans in mind, and he removed Pandya on the very first ball.
Then came Karthik on crease and hit a single. Kohli while trying to drive collected 2 off the third ball, and struck a six on the fourth, and it was a no-ball.
The equation then came to 6 off 3, Nawaz bowled a wide in pressure, Kohli and DK both ran for 3 for byes, and when India almost won the game, DK missed the slog sweep and was out.
India still needed 2 in 1 ball, and Ravichandran Ashwin then shot a four off the final ball to help India start their World Cup campaign with a win.