Submitted by Amith Chakrapani on Sun, 06/09/2024 - 11:14

Reliving Virat Kohli’s masterclass that owned MCG against Pakistan the 2022 T20 World Cup

09 Jun, 2024
Reliving Virat Kohli’s masterclass that owned MCG against Pakistan the 2022 T20 World Cup
09 Jun, 2024 By Editor

In less than 24 hours, Team India will be up against their arch-rivals, Pakistan for their second clash of the 2024 T20 World Cup. India got off to a rip-roaring start, thanks to an all-round display against Ireland. Au contraire, Pakistan suffered a defeat at the hands of newcomers USA in a thrilling contest that witnessed a Super Over separating the two sides.

However, bygones go out of the window when these two forces collide as the world splinters itself into three factions, two of them ardent zealots screaming for their respective sides while the third becomes a neutral admirer simply beholding the beauty of the sport.

Talking about the latter half though where the beauty of cricket is concerned, the entire world stayed witness to an unforgettable moment that screamed class, elegance and beauty of the highest order carved in Melbourne in the precursor edition of the tournament.

The last time these two teams met in the T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli played a knock of a lifetime where he won India a game that seemed consumed until the neck in the very jaws of defeat. So before we talk more about the imminent clash of the rivals, here’s a quick walk down the memory lane where VK owned the world.

India was chasing 160 which seemed to be a modest total till the break but once play resumed, the Indian top order toppled like dominoes losing four wickets within just 31 runs in front of Pakistan’s fearsome pace battery. Kohli was joined by Hardik in the middle and the duo had to brave insurmountable adversities to get the ship steady before they could eventually shift gears.

In fact such was the magnitude of troubles for Team India that Virat Kohli took nine overs and more to hit his first boundary of the innings. It came against Mohammad Nawaz. Dancing down the track, making room for himself, Virat took out Nawaz for an absolute banger over Pandya’s head at the non-striking end as the ball sailed into the stands.

These were the first signs of Kohli realizing the need of upping the tempo despite the staggering odds that intimidated India at that point in time. Soon after the first maximum, Kohli got in groove for another couple of boundaries in quick succession, first against Shaheen Shah Afridi where a glance did the trick followed by another fine cut dissecting the cover point and the deep backward point perfectly.

The 18th over from Afridi saw the Pakistani ace quick bearing a full-blown brunt of VK donning his meanest armour as he struck him for 19 runs apart from the wide. He started the over with an exquisite pull that left the deep midwicket rooted to his position while slacking another attempted yorker from the Falcon for a boundary through the covers. He finished the over on a bang as another shorter delivery from Afridi would be hooked away with utter disdain as fury rained down upon Pakistan who went into a shell thereafter.

If that 19-run over against Afridi was a prelude to the upcoming frenzy, Virat saved the very best for the last or in this case the second last. Haris Rauf was shouldered with the responsibility of bowling the 19th and he started on a brilliant note.

Things looked absolutely fine until the fourth ball of the over as Haris mixed his pace in fine fashion. The fifth ball of Rauf’s over possibly witnessed the shot of the century as Harsha would later call the moment as “Kohli goes down the ground, Kohli goes out of the ground.” Defying physics, Kohli played one straight above the bowler's head as Rauf was stunned.

In fact, Haris Rauf later said in an interview that had it not been Kohli no one would have ever thought of playing that shot. The last ball though was a gift from Rauf as he bowled it fuller into the pads and Kohli flicked it straight into the stands.

The last over though that was handed over to Mohammad Nawaz was nothing short of cinema. Hardik Pandya got out on the very first ball of the over ushering in Dinesh Karthik. The first three balls of the over made Pakistan delighted but the real deal unfurled in the final half.

The fourth ball was dispatched into the stands as Kohli clobbered a waist-high full toss with all his might and fury and the MCG crowd couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. The following moments spawned some unprecedented tension as the umpire pointed a no-ball and the Pakistani players went ballistic.

However, when the free hit delivery was finally dished out, Kohli was bowled and the Men in Green were flummoxed about what exactly they can do. No one really seemed to pick the ball while it rolled along the way to the fence. VK and DK got their jets on. By the time the ball eventually came in, they had garnered three runs.

Well, with the coup de grace coming from Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian fans loved what they saw on the pitch that day, It was just another concrete statement of VK’s authority, a stamp on the immortality of his legacy that the world will absolutely not forget.