OTD in 2022, Virat Kohli lit up the MCG with one of the greatest T20 innings ever 

Exactly one year ago Virat Kohli played one of the greatest T20 knocks of all time as India beat Pakistan in the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup.


OTD in 2022, Virat Kohli lit up the MCG with one of the greatest T20 innings ever 

Virat Kohli is applauded by the Melbourne Cricket Ground for his phenomenal innings (Image via ESPN)

On 23th October, 2022, India faced Pakistan in the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They had already faced each other twice in the previous few months in the 2022 Asia Cup. At points it looked like India were going to lose the match, losing their first four wickets by the 7th over and needing 48 runs in the final three overs. Despite all these setbacks, all it took was a batting masterclass by Virat Kohli to win the match. 

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Electing to field first India started off strong, with Arshdeep Singh picking up the wickets of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. In the powerplay, Pakistan managed to score only 32 runs and lost 2 wickets. Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed both managed to put up important half centuries, with Iftikhar bringing up his half century in an over where he hit Axar Patel for 21 runs. 

Mohammed Shami broke the partnership by dismissing Iftikhar just 2 balls after he reached his 50 and the next over Hardik Pandya got Shadab Khan’s wicket. In the same over he dismissed Haider Ali as well, getting India back in a comfortable position. However a late fight by Shan Masood and Shaheen Afridi made sure Pakistan reached 159. 

On a tough batting pitch, India had to face the inform pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Haris Rauf. The Indian openers, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, were both dismissed by the 4th over. India’s X-factor, Surya Kumar Yadav came in to bat at number 4, but didn’t last long enough as he was then dismissed by Haris Rauf. Axar Patel was promoted ahead of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Kartik to bat at number 5 and was run out in his 3rd ball. India were now 31-4 in 6.1 overs. 

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Related:“The cricket Gods wanted to do it for him,” Shoaib Akhtar recalls Virat Kohli’s MCG heroics against Pakistan in T20 World Cup

Virat Kohli’s chasing masterclass ensures India’s victory

Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya had to now absorb all the pressure. The team needed 129 in 14 overs with only 6 wickets left. There was a period in the match where the duo did not hit a boundary for 5 overs, sticking to just rotating strike and keeping a high price for their wicket. 

Virat Kohli hits Haris Rauf down the ground for a six (Image via ESPN)

India finally started to show some aggression when Mohammad Nawaz was hit for 20 runs in the 12 over, but they continued their conservative approach till the 18th over. India needed 48 runs in 18 balls, with Afridi, Rauf and Nawaz left to ball. Pakistan Captain, Babar Azam, had decided to bowl his strike bowlers to build more pressure on the Indian batters. 

Afridi was given the ball in the 18th over and this was when Virat and Hardik had decided to attack the bowlers. Both had saved their wickets for the final overs, and it paid off as they hit 17 off the over, with Virat reaching his 50 in 43 balls. 

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Haris Rauf was given the ball for the 19th over and he started off strong, only giving away 3 runs in the first four balls of the over. With India now needing 28 in 8 balls, it looked like Pakistan had one hand on the victory over India. Unfortunately for them, Virat Kohli pulled off the impossible. 

The 5th ball of the over, Haris Rauf bowled a slower ball just back of the length. Virat made room for himself and with a straight bat he punched the ball over Haris Rauf’s head for a six. An Australian commentator described the shot as “a shot of an emperor.” The very next ball, Virat managed to deposit it in the crowd as well, just above the fielder at fine leg. 

Spinner Mohammad Nawaz now had to defend 16 runs in the last 6 balls against Pandya and Virat. Thanks to a poor shot by Hardik Pandya, Nawaz picked up a wicket on the first ball. Dinesh Kartik came into bat and immediately got Virat on strike. 15 off 4 now required. Nawaz bowled a wide yorker, to which Virat only managed a double. 

Next ball Virat received a juicy full toss just above his waist, which he rightfully pulled for a six. The umpire called a no-ball and now the pressure started building up on Nawaz, which led him to bowling a wide next ball. The very next ball Nawaz clean bowled Virat, but thanks to the free hit he ran three runs. 

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With India now having the upper hand, needing 2 off 2 balls, Dinesh Karthik attempted to finish the match by stepping down the ground to hit a boundary, unfortunately he was followed by Nawaz who bowled at his body. The ball hit his pad and the ball went rolling down to Rizwan, who stumped him. 

Now with India needing 2 off the last delivery, Ravichandran Ashwin comes in to bat. The hopes of 140.6 crore people rested on the off-spinner’s shoulder. Luckily for him, Nawaz bowled a ball down the leg side which he left with ease. He had just gifted India  the match. 

Babar Azam called all of his fielders inside the 30-yard circle, as he didn’t want India to get any singles. But Ashwin just lofted the ball with ease over mid-off and ran the single, ensuring India’s victory over their arch-rivals

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