Chasing a tough target of 160, India crossed the finish line from the last ball of the match, which saw King Kohli at his absolute best, smashing an unbeaten 82 off 53 balls. It’s a knock that Virat called the best of his T20I career.
The game itself was a rollercoaster that saw the pendulum of momentum swing from one camp to the other several times. Over 90,000 fans in the stadium and millions watching on television sets around the world were in for an absolute treat as the arch-rivals played out one of the best T20 World Cup and overall T20 International matches of all time.
Here’s a look at some of the key turning points from the high-octane clash:
When Arshdeep did a Shaheen
Arshdeep Singh‘s first ever outing in a T20 World Cup match was a very special effort as the left-arm pacer produced an epic new-ball bowling performance at the MCG. Just like Shaheen Afridi India at the start of their clash in the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup in the UAE, Arshdeep wreaked havoc for the Pakistani this time. The young left-arm pacer first dismissed Pakistan captain Babar Azam for a golden duck and then removed world number 1 T20I batsman Mohammed Rizwan. He later came back to pick another wicket and finished with figures of 3 for 32. His wickets ensured that Babar and Rizwan, the two best Pak batsmen, could not do any major damage at the top and this helped India to restrict Pakistan to 159/8.
Ball hitting the Spider Cam
Spider-cam adds nothing to the game and only cost India a wicket. Farcical in a World Cup. Need download speed… https://t.co/vPL7X0qq2j
— Edd Oliver (@EddOliver1) 1666517412000
With Pakistan at 98 for 5 after 14 overs, India had the Pakistani batting in a row and were looking for the kill. But that’s when Shan Masood had a lucky escape. In the 15th over, Masood, batting on 31, missed an R Ashwin delivery and it shot upright. What would have been an easy catch for the fielder who ran in from the deep cover fence turned into a frustrating situation for the Indian players when the ball hit the SpiderCam on the way up and Masood got away with a poor shot as the delivery was declared dead. While the Indian fielders were seemingly distraught, Masood got a much-needed lifeline. He eventually scored an unbeaten 52 and took Pakistan to a competitive total.
Vintage Virat: Back-to-back sixes from Haris Rauf
31 runs were needed from the last 12 balls when Shaheen Shah Afridi ended his 17-run 18th over. The momentum was with India but Haris Rauf, who bowled the penultimate over, got off to a great start conceding just 3 singles off his first four balls. With 28 needed from 8 balls, Pakistan looked to be in complete control of the situation, but Kohli then, out of nowhere, hit back-to-back sixes off Rauf and ended the over with 15 runs for his team. Kohli’s tremendous knock off the last 2 balls of Rauf’s over gave India a real chance in the game as they had 16 to chase in the last over to be bowled by a spinner. The momentum was now firmly with India and Virat and the whole of India believed the team could reach the target.
The Hardik twist
With 16 needed off the last over and a left-arm spinner in Mohammad Nawaz going after the likes of Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, the scales tipped in favor of India. But there was another twist in the match – Nawaz got rid of powerhouse Hardik off the first ball of the over and smashed the century and swung the momentum back in Pakistan’s favour.
No ball six and Kohli sent down a free hit that collected three crucial runs for India
With Virat Kohli starting and 13 needed off 3 balls, under pressure Mohammad Nawaz bowled a waist-high full toss that was declared a no-ball as fans across the MCG went berserk. Skipper Babar Azam and the rest of the Pakistanis were disappointed with the decision and also spoke to the umpires, but the decision went India’s way as they were given an extra run for a no ball and a free hit. Off the legal fourth ball of the last over, which was also a free hit, Virat Kohli went for a big hit but was bowled. As it was a free hit delivery, he could not be dismissed and Virat and Dinesh Karthik took three byes as the ball went to third man. The Pakistanis once again called for it to be declared a dead ball, but three crucial byes were awarded to the Indian team.
Ashwin’s brave departure
With 2 needed off the last ball, the new man in R Ashwin, who came in after DK was stumped, took a brave call against a leg-side delivery from Mohammad Nawaz, let it go and didn’t try to not hitting it. An extra for wide was awarded to India and the scores were level due to some smart thinking from Ashwin. Off the last ball, with 1 needed to win, Ashwin hit Nawaz down the ground for the winning run that gave India a memorable win in what was a thriller of a contest.