Melbourne: Reiterating why he is considered one of the best chasers in world cricket, Virat Kohli on Sunday produced a masterclass of batting, slamming an unbeaten 82 off 53 balls to power India to an incredible four-wicket victory over Pakistan in a thrilling Super 12 match of Men’s T20 World Cup at iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, here.
Kohli, along with all-rounder Hardik Pandya added 113 runs for the fifth wicket after a difficult start for the side with the team being 31/4 after six overs.
After the right-left fast-bowling duo of Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh picked three wickets each to restrict Pakistan to 159/8 in their 20 overs, Kohli along with Hardik Pandya (40) shared a match-winning fifth wicket stand of 113 off 77 deliveries.
The former India skipper remained not out and along with Ravichandran Ashwin (1 not out off 1), led India to a sensational victory in their campaign opener.
Following the historic game, celebrities from different spheres hailed Kohli’s knock and India’s win on social media.
“The KING is back .. Take a bow, Virat Kohli,” tweeted ICC along with Virat’s picture, where he is seen sitting like a king.
“@imVkohli, it was undoubtedly the best innings of your life. It was a treat to watch you play, the six off the back foot in the 19th over against Rauf over long-on was spectacular! Keep it going,” said Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar in a tweet.
For Virender Sehwag, Kohli’s knock was one of the most brilliant T20 Innings he has seen ever.
“YaayyyyeHappyyy Deepawali. What an amazing game. High on emotions, but this is probably the most brilliant T20 Innings I have ever seen, take a bow, Virat Kohli. Chak De India,” tweeted Sehwag.
Home Minister Amit Shah said the win against Pakistan has started the Diwali celebration.
“A perfect way to start the T20 World CupeDeepawali begins 🙂 What a cracking innings by @imVkohli. Congratulations to the entire team,” Shah said in a tweet.
For former Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj, Kohli displayed terrific skills and temperament.
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man! @imVkohli, what a terrific display of skills and temperament! That partnership with @hardikpandya7 changed the game. Spectacular win for India against the arch-rivals, Pakistan. Great start to the World Cup campaign. Well done,” tweeted Mithali.
“Turning back time! The chase master @imVkohli is back and what a match to showcase his skills. What a game we have witnessed today! Congratulations #TeamIndia,” said BCCI secretary Jay Shah in a tweet.
Former India pacer RP Singh reminded everyone of Kohli’s class.
“If the eagle does not fly for two days, the sky does not belong to pigeons! #ViratKohli #indvspak,” said Singh in a tweet.
“So good to see a great game of cricket. So wonderful to see India win. So brilliant to see @imVkohli battinge.and so inspiring to see him cry and smilee.and the background score of Chak de India!! Happy Diwali starts right now!!!,” tweeted Shah Rukh Khan.
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan also celebrated a great game of cricket.
“This is why I love this sport What an exciting game of cricket between two great teams Top performance @imVkohli bhai,” said Rashid in a tweet.
Former Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi also praised Kohli’s knock.
“The game of nerves today but we had it on our side by 95% and then @imVkohli showed what a world-class match-winning innings looks like. Well played by both teams, great match!,” said Afridi in a tweet.
After playing an emotionally and physically draining knock at the iconic MCG, Virat said it was his best T20I knock.
“Till today I have always said Mohali was my best innings, against Australia: I got 82 off 52 (51). Today I got 82 off 53. So they are exactly the same innings, but I think today I will count this one higher because of the magnitude of the game and what the situation was,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
India’s next assignment in the T20 World Cup is in Sydney on Thursday against the Netherlands.