Melbourne: Virat Kohli’s masterly knock of 82* off 53 deliveries helped India beat Pakistan by four wickets in a thriller at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Kohli, who was awarded the Player of the Match said: “It’s a surreal atmosphere, I have no words, no idea how that happened. I am really lost for words. Hardik believed we can do it, if we stayed till the end. When Shaheen bowled from the pavilion end, that’s when we decided to take him down. Haris is their prime bowler, and I hit those two sixes. The calculation was simple. Nawaz had one over to bowl, so if I could take Haris down, they would panic.”
“From 28 in 8, it came down to 16 to 6. I tried to stick to my instincts. The first one was back of a hand slower ball (over long-on). Standing here I just feel like it was meant to be,” he added.
The 33-year-old batter said he would count today’s innings higher and credited Hardik Pandya for pushing him.
“Till today Mohali was my best innings, against Australia. Today I will count this one higher. Hardik kept pushing me. The crowd has been phenomenal. You guys (fans) kept backing me and I am grateful for your support,” Kohli said.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma felt that the partnership between Kohli and Pandya was the game-changing moment.
“I was in the dressing room. I don’t have any words left. You got to expect something like this in a game like this. We wanted to stay in the game for as long as possible. That crucial partnership was the game changing moment for us.
“The pitch had something in it. There was nice carry. Some swing and seam. Good to see from the bowling perspective. They had a good partnership (Iftikhar and Masood) after that. They batted well towards the end as well. But we knew we had to bat out of our skin to chase this,” the 35-year-old said.
“Those two guys (Kohli and Pandya) are experienced. Staying calm and taking the game deep was very critical. Good for our confidence. Always crucial to get off the mark like this. We were in no position to win this. The way we won that’s more pleasing for us. Hats off to Virat for the way he batted, has to be the best innings he has played for India. I would like to thank everyone, it’s wonderful to see. Their support for us is very, very crucial wherever we go,” Rohit concluded.