When India and Pakistan clash in any cricket match, in any tournament, the atmosphere gets a few degrees hotter- regardless of the venue. And if that happens to be an important tournament like the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, you know you’re up for the biggest entertainment and a real-life epic drama.
That’s exactly what happened in the only match when these two teams clashed in the T20 World Cup in 2022. It was the 16th match of the tournament held on October 23rd in Melbourne. These two teams played under group 2 and India beat Pakistan by 4 wickets on the very last ball of the match. Let’s dig in to find out more details.
Pakistan Scored 159 Runs for 8 Wickets
Early Departure of Openers
India came to play that match with 3 specialist ballers in their squad- Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, and Arshdeep Singh along with all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya. With this balling line-up, they chose to field first after winning the toss.
And looked like the decision was indeed wise for Pakistan was down with both the openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan by the 3rd over while the team total was only 15 runs.
A Crucial Partnership
Shan Maswood and Iftikhar Ahmed came in to bat at no. 3 and no. 4 respectively after the quick dismissal of the two openers. They formed a very crucial partnership till Iftikhar was taken out by Mohammad Shami at the beginning of the 13th over when the team total was 91 runs.
Iftikhar contributed a responsible inning of 51 runs while Maswood kept on supporting him from the other end of the pitch. Iftikhar’s half-century came from only 34 balls and it had a total of 6 boundaries- two 4’s and four 6’s.
On the other hand, Shan Maswood contributed 52 runs and remained not out. His half-century took much longer to come, but only 42 balls. He scored 5 boundaries- all 4’s. It was because of his long-time presence on the pitch that kept the hope up for the Pakistan squad till the end of 20 overs.
Fall of Wickets at Regular Intervals
After breaking the partnership between Maswood and Iftikhar, the Indian ballers didn’t take a break until the last ball of the innings, packing up the Pakistani batsmen with 159 runs. Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya each took 3 wickets at the expense of 32 and 30 runs respectively. On the other hand, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 1 wicket each.
India Scored 160 Runs for 6 Wickets
Indian Batsmen Followed Suit
It seemed like Indian batsmen were not ready to take up the challenge to chase 159 runs at a required rate of 8 runs per hour. They kept on giving away their wickets in equally regular intervals as the Pakistani batsmen did. When India lost both its openers by the early 4th over, the total collection was only 10 runs.
Then Virat Kohli came in to bat no. 3 and he was not ready to give in without a fight. However, it was not until he was supported by Hardik Pandya on the other end that the Indians started to see a glimpse of hope. By that time the team total was 41 runs for 4 wickets at the beginning of the 7th over.
Virat Kohli – the Man, the Magician!
Hardik contributed 40 runs from 37 balls. His inning was graced with 3 boundaries- one 4 and two 6’s. This may not seem much when considered an individual performance, even in a T20I match, although almost all the other players in the team were sinking. But this contribution compounded into a much bigger level as a support to the other batsman on the pitch.
‘I have no words, no idea how that happened. I am lost for words. Hardik believed we could do it if we stayed till the end. When Shaheen bowled from the pavilion end, that’s when we decided to take him down.’
- Virat Kohli, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, October 23rd
82 runs from 53 balls and remaining on the field for 98 minutes- till the end is what got India the dramatic victory in that match. Virat hit a total of 10 boundaries in that match- sixs 4’s and four 6’s- making his inning nothing short of an artwork. This very inning made him, arguably, India’s lead batsman.
This success was not really expected even by the man himself as is clearly evident from his own statement above. But the work was being done much before the team landed in Australia for this tournament. Virat took a significant break before the Asia Cup 2022. Upon returning, he scored a century against Afghanistan which pretty much set the base for this confident batsman.
A Nail-Biting Finish to the Victory!
But India’s victory in that match was not yet sealed. In fact, many of the commentators were looking forward to having a super over as Dinesh Kartik went back to the pavilion as the 6th batsman at 19.5 overs with a total collection of 158 runs and Ravichandran Ashwin came in to bat at no. 8.
This was the time when cricket showed its true face of uncertainty. The ball thrown by Mohammad Nawaz to Ashwin turned out to be a wide ball– meaning, India got 1 free run- that tied the score- and 1 more ball to go. And Ashwin made no mistake in taking that 1 run to break the tie and bring in the surreal victory for India!
People of this region are not fans of well-calculated cricket, they are always hungry for head-to-head battles, nail-biting moments, and breathtaking endings. That match gave them all of those and beyond. Moreover, Virat Kohli’s almost heroic, career transmuting innings proved once more that Form is Temporary, and Class is Permanent!