MELBOURNE: A Virat Kohli blitzkrieg helped India defeat Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Sunday. India needed 16 of the last 5 balls and 5 of 3 balls. Finally, it was 2 of 2 balls when Dinesh Karthik was stumped by Rizwan. However, Ravichandran Ashwin walked in and lofted one which was full, to the boundary, thus breaking many Pakistani's hearts.
King Kohli and Hard hitting Hardik
King Kohli, as his fans call him, conjured up a magical and memorable 82 not out off 43 balls to anchor a chase of 160 which became tricky after India were left in tatters at 31 for 4.
Hardik Pandya, the most important cog in India's T20 wheel, struck 40 off 37 balls in a partnership of 113.
His ability to win matches for India coming under the scanner due to a prolonged lean patch, Kohli sang the perfect redemption song on the grandest stage.
It started in the 19th over when he sent one from Haris Rauf on his hunches and pulled off two back-to-back sixes.
Cricket indeed is a leveller as Rauf, after 22 splendid deliveries bowled two bad ones and it changed the complexion of the game.
With 16 needed off the last six balls, Pandya holed out off Mohammed Nawaz's bowling and with the rule of crossover non-existent, Dinesh Karthik faced his first delivery and took a single.
With 14 needed off three balls, Nawaz's juicy full-toss was dispatched for a six over square leg and it was called a no-ball after deliberation by on-field umpires.
Nawaz, the hero of Pakistan's Super 4 victory in the Asia Cup, by then had lost his nerves.
After Karthik was stumped by an alert Mohammed Rizwan, Nawaz bowled a wide and Ravichandran Ashwin scored the most important boundary of his career.
'Chak De India' reverberating around the MCG never sounded sweeter and Kohli seemed numb.
During the crucial stage of the match there was a bit of confusion when Nawaz had bowled Kohli over but it is a free hit, the batters ran three but the Pakistan fielders asked if the runs stand because the ball had hit the stumps. India had 2 to win off 53 balls.
Rohit Sharma lauded Hardik and Kohli saying they were brilliant. They are experienced players and they took the game as deep as possible. He said it is a confidence-boosting win and from where they won is more pleasing and it is probably Kohli's best knock ever.
Babar Azam said their bowlers bowled well but credit to Kohli and Pandya as they stole the game.
Earlier, half-centuries by Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed helped Pakistan cross 150.
Hardik Pandya took two wickets in the 14th over and another wicket in the 16th to help India restrict the score.
India skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bowl against arch-rival Pakistan in their opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Powerhouse India has largely dominated Pakistan since the late 1990s but has lost two of their three previous clashes, including by 10 wickets in the group phase at last year's T20 World Cup.
And while Sharma's side are ranked world number one, they haven't lifted the T20 trophy since 2007, failing to reach the semi-finals last year.
They are without pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, with Mohammed Shami starting in his place.
For 2009 champions Pakistan, batsman Shan Masood has recovered and takes his place after being hit on the head during a practice session last week.
But fellow batsman Fakhar Zaman was omitted, yet to fully recover from a knee injury.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh,
Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Rod Tucker (AUS)
TV Umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)
(With inputs from PTI)