Virat Kohli struck an imperious half-century and Ravichandran Ashwin was cool at the death as India secured a four-wicket win on the final ball against arch-rivals Pakistan at the T20 World Cup on Sunday in front of a huge Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) crowd.
Pakistan’s spin-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz had a final over to forget, gifting India two wides and a no-ball before Ashwin coolly blasted the winning run over mid-off as India chased down 160 for victory.
Man-of-the-match Kohli was magnificent, driving India to the brink of victory with 82 not out after digging the team out of trouble in a brilliant partnership with Hardik Pandya (40).
Pakistan were cruising to what seemed a morale-boosting victory but Kohli went ballistic with the bat in the final overs to bring India home in front of 90,293 screaming fans and hundreds of millions more watching around the world.
Here’s what current and former players had to say about today’s blockbuster match.
English pacer Stuart Broad dubbed today’s match as “incredible entertainment”.
“Pakistan won’t believe they’ve lost that but that was pretty special finishing from Kohli and India. MCG looked some atmosphere,” he said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja said called the thriller a “classic”.
“You win some you lose some and as we all know this game can be cruel and unfair .#TeamPakistan couldn’t have given more with bat and ball. Very proud of the effort!” he said.
Commentator Harsha Bhogle termed today’s game to be “unforgettable”.
“I have seen Virat for so many years. I have never seen a tear in his eyes. I saw it today,” he said.
“It takes a lot of courage to ball the last over as a spinner, specially the magnitude of this contest. [Nawaz] well tried, hard luck Pakistan,” said Imad Wasim.
Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif was all praises for the Indian skipper.
“Kohli will always be a champion cricketer, one of the best batsman ever to play the game and someone who makes us proud to be an Indian.”
Mark Waugh, former Australian cricketer, said that he could not recall a “better game of T20 cricket” than today’s thriller.
“Amazing stuff from both teams. Virat’s dig one of a kind,” he said.
Former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg thanked both India and Pakistan “for not letting the hype before the game turn into a fizzle”.
“Another great match between you both, need more of it. Fans of both teams be proud of all players,” he said.
Morne Morkel, former South African cricketer, termed today’s match to be at par with an episode of “Days of our lives”.
“It had everything!! What a game!!! Incredible chase … well done India,” he said.
“Drama,” said former South African cricketer Vernon Philander. “That was blockbuster stuff. Pakistan had there chance to win it. Great knock from [Kohli],” he said.
“Wow!!!!! What a start to the World Cup!! One of the best T20s you could wish to watch!! Kohli showing his class once again!! What a game!!” said former England cricketer James Taylor.
Former Pakistani cricketer Faisal Iqbal said today’s match was “unbelievable”.
“It has never been this stressful as a player for me while playing against India!” he said as he congratulated the winning team.
Australian cricketer Megan Schutt said “that was one of the craziest finishes I have ever seen”.
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya said it was “one of the most exciting matches in recent times”
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