Follow Us:

India snatch victory from Pakistan in last ball thriller in T20 WC

Kohli remained unbeaten till the end with a matchless 82 off 53 balls that contained 6 fours and four sixes but the winning hit, a scoop over the infield, was recorded by Ashwin in mounting edge-of-the seat tension.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

India vs Pakistan: Amidst high drama in a riveting contest that thrilled the 90,000-plus crowd, India made a dramatic turnaround and upstaged Pakistan in a last ball finish to start their campaign in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on a rousing note with a four-wicket victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today.

India looked down in the dumps at 31 for four just after power play chasing Pakistan’s 159 for 8 when Kohli fashioned the spectacular fightback with a fabulous stand of 113 runs with Hardik Pandhya (40 in 31 balls).

Kohli remained unbeaten till the end with a matchless 82 off 53 balls that contained 6 fours and four sixes but the winning hit, a scoop over the infield, was recorded by Ashwin in mounting edge-of-the seat tension.

India needed 16 in the final over with Dinesh Karthik having joined Kohli at the fall of Pandya in the first ball of the final over.

Kohli struck Nawaz, after Karthik took a run, for a couple of runs and then a six off an above-waist-high full toss, declared a no-ball, to bring the asking rate down.

After a weak start to the innings, India lost wickets at regular intervals, with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav failing to impress in the chase. It was the partnership between Kohli and Hardik Pandya that turned the tide in India’s favour.

A wide and three byes by the nervous Nawaz followed to help India immensely before Karthik fell in the penultimate ball, stumped when two were needed.

But Ashwin showed good presence of mind to leave the next ball bowled wide of his leg stump as the scores got levelled.

The senior off-spinner, with Kohli looking on anxiously from the non-striker’s end, coolly lifted the last ball over the infield and India scampered home in dramatic fashion.

It was Kohli’s third half century in his last four matches against Pakistan in the T20 internationals and it couldn’t have come in a better time for India who notched their first win in the six-team Group 2 Super 12 stage.

He had made 57 when India lost to Pakistan in the last World T20 Cup in the UAE.

Kohli, who came to the crease in the second over at the fall of K L Rahul, saw three more wickets, including that of skipper Rohit Sharma, falling cheaply and then simply lifted the team from the depths of despair to victory with his impeccable batting display.

Earlier, Pakistan too had recovered from a difficult 15 for 2 in the fourth over to make 159 for 8, riding on half centuries from Shan Masood (52 not out) and Iftikhar Ahmed (51) who put on 76 runs for the third wicket.

Pakistan were rocked by a twin strike by left arm pacer Arshdeep Singh who sent back rival openers Mohammed Rizwan (4) and captain Babar Azam in his first two overs.

Later, Pandya recovered after leaking runs in his first two overs to take 3 for 30 and Mohammed Shami too bowled economically.

Ashwin’s figures were 0-23 but the big disappointment was Axar Patel who was carted for three sixes in one over by Iftikhar and gave away 21 runs in his one over spell. He was promoted in the batting order and flopped there too.

 India take on qualifiers Netherlands next at the Sydney Cricket Ground On October 27 while Pakistan face Zimbabwe on the same day at Perth.

Brief scores: Pakistan 159 for 8  in 20 overs (Shan Masood 52, Iftikhar Ahmed 51; Arshdeep Singh 3 for 32, Hardik Pandya 3 for 30) lost to India 160 for 6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli not out 82, Hardik Pandya 40; Haris Rauf 2 for 36, Mohammed Nawaz 2 for 42).