After the terrible exit from the group stage in the 2021 T20 World Cup, India had a point to prove. It was up to the new skipper, Rohit Sharma to kick-off a new era in Indian cricket. And, their first clash in the 2022 tournament was against arch-rivals, Pakistan. It was a high-pressure situation, a jam-packed crowd and in front of them, Pakistan but India played a game of a life-time.
Starting with the ball, India were on point, with Arshdeep Singh setting the game up with two quick wickets, breaking Pakistan’s top-order before the others chipped in to reduce them to just 159/8. Even then, the game was slightly in favour of Pakistan, who had a pace-unit that could exploit these conditions to perfection.
“I was in the dressing room. I don't have any words left. You got to expect something like this in a game like this. We wanted to stay in the game for as long as possible. That crucial partnership was the game changing moment for us. The pitch had something in it. There was nice carry. Some swing and seam. Good to see from the bowling perspective,” said Rohit Sharma at the post-match presentation, almost in disbelief.
At 31/4, the game was almost done. When Hardik Pandya walked in, the pressure was at an all-time high but that never got in between the two, who were scoring runs for fun. Kohli ended his innings with 82 off 53 balls, as the Men in Blue pulled the run-chase under Pakistan’s nose in Melbourne.
“They had a good partnership (Iftikhar and Masood) after that. They batted well towards the end as well. But we knew we had to bat out of our skin to chase this. Those two guys (Kohli and Pandya) are experienced. Staying calm and taking the game deep was very critical. Good for our confidence. Always crucial to get off the mark like this,” he added.
The Indian skipper admitted that they were in no position to win this, stating that it once in a lifetime innings from Kohli. Alongside that, India stretched their lead over Pakistan, 6-1, as they registered a win out of nowhere.
“We were in no position to win this. The way we won that's more pleasing for us. Hats off to Virat for the way he batted, has to be the best innings he has played for India. I would like to thank everyone, it's wonderful to see. Their support for us is very, very crucial wherever we go.”