Former captain Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 83 as India defeated Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final over drama by a margin of four wickets.
Chase Master Virat Kohli Stuns Pakistan as India Wins Thriller
Former captain Virat Kohli salvaged the day for India with a magnificent solo performance of 82 from just 53 deliveries. This was not the first time, and it is unlikely to be the last. After KL Rahul (4) was dismissed by Naseem Shah (1/23) in the second over, Virat Kohli took the crease. After the batting Power play, things seemed bleak for India when Haris Rauf (2/36) reduced them to 31/3. But Virat Kohli maintained his composure and skillfully led India to victory in front of a crowd in excess of 90,000 at the MCG in Melbourne, just as he has done so many times before.
Final Over thriller has packed crowd on the edge of their seats
With Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya at the crease, there was always a remote possibility that India might pull off a miraculous victory. When Virat Kohli hammered Rauf for two huge sixes on the final two deliveries of the penultimate over, the equation required 16 runs from the final six balls instead of the requisite 31 from the final two overs.
Still, there was more drama in the Final Over
Before Virat Kohli sent Mohammad Nawaz into the stands with a waist-high full toss to make it six runs needed from the final three deliveries to pull off the improbable victory, Pandya fell on the first ball of the final over. The subsequent delivery saw Virat Kohli be bowled, but because it was a free hit, India hustled to get three byes, putting them in the driver’s seat with only two runs needed from the final two balls.
Pakistan had hoped after Karthik was stumped on the second-to-last delivery, but Ravi Ashwin stepped to the crease and scored the winning run on the very last ball to give India a thrilling victory.
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Lack of bowling options costly for Pakistan
Pakistan’s absence of a strong fourth seamer ended up costing them, as India targeted Nawaz while holding their pacers at bay during his period. Last year in Dubai, it was Shaheen Afridi who caused the most damage with the bat, but this time, it was his fellow quicks Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah who defeated India’s top order.
India was reduced to only 31/3 from their batting Power play by Pakistan’s speed trio, and there was more carnage on the first ball of the seventh over when Axar Patel, who had been elevated to No. 5 in the batting order, was run out trying to make a run that wasn’t there. But in a gripping game in Melbourne, Virat Kohli and Pandya timed their runs brilliantly to lead Rohit Sharma’s team home.
Star duo fails as Iftikhar Ahmed picks up the slack
India was able to remove Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan for cheap runs during Pakistan’s batting Powerplay, but they were unable to capitalize on that victory right away. Iftikhar (51 off 34 deliveries) and Shan Masood (52* from 42 balls) revived Pakistan’s innings with some shrewd batting and some huge hitting after Arshdeep Singh (3/32) took the crucial wickets of Babar for a golden duck and Rizwan for only four.
Iftikhar blasted the Indian all-rounder for three huge sixes and 21 from his single over, demonstrating his preference for Axar Patel’s spin and aiding Pakistan in posting a respectable score. In the penultimate over of Pakistan’s innings, a more collected Masood reached his third T20I half-century, and Afridi launched a couple of rare huge shots late.