Melbourne [Australia]: Following his side’s five-wicket win over Pakistan in their ICC T20 World Cup match, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said that Virat Kohli’s two consecutive sixes against a dangerous pacer Haris Rauf were match-turning ones and his experience helped Men in Blue win the match.
An explosive half-century by star batter Virat Kohli and a century stand with Hardik Pandya helped India defeat Pakistan by four wickets in their Group 2, Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
“I do not think he was struggling but with him (Virat), expectations are so high. He took a break, scored a century in Asia Cup and today, his experience and century stand with Pandya helped us win. When you have guys like them in the middle (Hardik and Kohli), you can do well. To score 62 in the last five overs is challenging but they played amazingly. Those two sixes on Rauf’s delivery were crucial,” said Rohit in a post-match press conference.
Rohit said that Kohli’s match-winning knock will go down one of the best knocks for India.
On sending Axar Patel at number five, Rohit said that they did not want to expose the middle order to Pakistan’s lethal pace.
“We knew they had two spinners, which means eight overs of spin. These three sixes in Nawaz’s over brought us back in the game,” he added.
Rohit said that such a win at the beginning of the tournament will give them a lot of confidence since they now know they can win in any situation.
With this win, India is at top of Group 2 with two points.
Put to bat first by India, Pakistan put up 159/8 in their 20 overs.
Shan Masood (52) and Iftikhar Ahmed (51) scored solid half-centuries but Pakistan kept losing wickets consistently.
A 76-run stand between Masood and Ahmed was crucial for Pakistan.
Hardik Pandya (3/30) and Arshdeep (3/32) shined for India with the ball.
Shami and Bhuvneshwar also got a wicket each.
Chasing 160, India was reduced to 31/4 in less than seven overs. From then on, Virat and Hardik started to rebuild the game, putting a 113-run stand.
Pandya was dismissed for 40 but Virat ended unbeaten to score 82 off 53 balls with six fours and four sixes to guide his team to a four-wicket win.
Virat got the ‘Man of the Match’ for his knock.
Brief score: Pakistan 159/8 (Shan Masood 52, Iftikhar Ahmed 51; Hardik Pandya 3-30) vs India: 160/6 (Virat Kohli 82, Hardik Pandya 40, Haris Rauf 2/36).