A breathless 82, from just 53-balls from Virat Kohli helped India edge out arch-rivals Pakistan by four wickets in a World Cup classic and early candidate for game of the tournament.
When these two juggernauts from the Subcontinent compete with one another, there’s passion drama and at times bad-blood. If last year’s game was anything to go by, India and Pakistan although fierce rivals, do also have the mutual respect for one another.
South Asia’s big two on the World stage, often see their cricket matches and political issues intertwine, but today’s epic clash, although fiercely contested, was played with superb spirit.
Being a cricketing traditionalist, I expect the fielder to make the call of a boundary, when his body touches the boundary cushion, or when fielders couldn’t see it and to also not claim an unfair catch.
The latter example, was something that Virat Kohli did rather sportingly, where in the heat of the moment and the sheer wanting to get one over the opposition would have made this so easy to do.
I am a cricket fan/writer first and a Pakistan fan second. Let’s just take a minute here, Virat was superb, he was back to his king of chasing best. The 33-year old had had to endure the rise of Babar Azam, and the sceptics that doubt he can still do it at the highest level.
Here was an emphatic rebuttal of any notion that this Indian tiger’s claws are not as sharp. A superb 113-run stand in 13 overs with Hardik Pandya (40 off 37 balls) , would be the partnership that would knock the stuffing out of Babar’s men, but Pakistan will be kicking themselves after this game.
Viru rolled back the years in this knock. Pakistan’s talented attack probed, but it didn’t bear fruit as The King produced a typical Virat Kohli innings.
The decision to make Mohammed Nawaz bowl the final over was bizarre at best. Yes the all-rounder bowled admirably by removing Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Kartik ( 1 off 2 balls), but traditionally when the spinner comes on, the batting side attack him, this is what happened here.
Credit to the Quetta Gladiators spinner, that he helped take the game deep, but the over before was arguably the one that took the game away from Pakistan.
Haris Rauf, who is usually so good at the death, succumbed to the greatness of Kohli as the former Indian captain slayed the Melbourne Stars bowler for two crucial sixes, which made the near impossible task for Nawaz, even more difficult.
India who had four-seamers in their attack, had their tactics spot on, but Pakistan who had just the three seamers, were clearly a pacer light. Shadab and Nawaz are two very good spinners, but in Australia the pitches in general favour the faster men.
Pakistan weren’t terrible in this side, and their fielding wasn’t bad either. Just question, how they allowed a collapse to ensue after Itikhar Ahmed got out for a very well made 54.
Shaan Masood’s 50, is another example that Shaan does belong at this level, but the manner of this defeat will be difficult to take, but full credit must go to Virat Kohli and how he showed world cricket he’s still king and anyone else is merely a prince in the cricketing Royal Family.
VK has been playing knocks like these his whole career. Babar Azam a sensational player he is, Virat Kohli he isn’t. I hope this puts this argument to bed as the Pakistan Captain, needs to win the game for his country in a true high stakes game.
With the football World Cup beginning on 20th November and the Rugby League World also in full flow, the T20 cricket World Cup after these weekend matches, has shown why it’s the World Cup sports fans should enjoy the most.
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