After enduring a rough patch for over two years, Virat Kohli finally hit form at the Asia Cup in UAE earlier this year, where he also ended the over 1000 days century drought. Ever since Kohli has been in supreme touch and the same was seen in the nail-biting encounter against Pakistan at the T20 World Cup in Melbourne on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff 160, against some of fiercest custodians, Kohli went to smash an unbeaten 82 off 53 deliveries, as India completed the target in the final ball of the contest. The innings was even more special as Kohli along with Hardik Pandya stitched one of the finest comeback by any side in the history of T20 cricket.
The duo came together when India were reeling at 31-4 in the seventh over, and went to add 113 runs for the fifth wicket, before Pandya was dismissed in the final over of the inning. During the course of the partnership, there came a point when India required 28 off 8 deliveries, and pacer Haris Rauf, who was maintaining a fine line and length, was leading the attack.
Also Read | ‘If early wickets fall down…’: Sunil Gavaskar suggests massive Hardik selection decision for Rohit Sharma and Co.
What followed next was Kohli showcasing his dominance, as he stood tall against Rauf and sent the ball over the bowler’s head for a six. The next delivery, he swung his bat and hammered the ball over the fine leg region for another maximum, reducing the equation to 16 off 6 balls.
Ravi Shastri, former India coach, who has worked with Kohli from close quarters in an interaction with Indian Express called it “greatest shots by an Indian batsman.”
He compared the shots with Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic upper cut six against Shoaib Akhtar in Centurion at the ICC 2003 World Cup, when the Master Blaster timed the ball to perfection, sending it over the third man region for a maximum. Tendulkar had then smashed 98 off 75 deliveries and helped the Men In Blue beat arch rivals by six wickets.
Also Read | ‘He had a chat with Bhuvi, Shami…’: India bowling coach on Arshdeep Singh’s performance against Pakistan
“In all my years of playing and watching India vs Pakistan, those two sixes off Haris Rauf are two of the greatest shots played by an Indian batsman. The only comparison is Sachin Tendulkar’s six off Shoaib Akhtar in Centurion in 2003 World Cup. These are two of the greatest cricketers of our time. Tendulkar’s knock had some of the magnificent shots played in white-ball cricket against Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar. And then this Kohli knock. These two are the biggest knocks I have seen where quality fast bowling has been taken apart,” noted Shastri.
Rohit Sharma and Co. will now take on Netherlands in their second Super 12 clash in Sydney on Thursday.