'Innings for the ages' - Fans recall greatest-ever T20 knock by Virat Kohli against Pakistan at MCG on its first anniversary

Kohli's 82* not only marked India's epic win against arch-rivals Pakistan, but also marked the former India captain's return to international cricket after going through the worst patch of nearly three years.

Mathew K
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Virat Kohli (Source: Twitter)

Virat Kohli (Source: Twitter)

On this day in 2022, India's talisman Virat Kohli played one of the greatest-ever T20 knock against arch-rivals Pakistan. Witnessed by 90,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), a Kohli magic that led India to a historic victory in the T20 World Cup 2022 was forever etched in cricket history. All hopes were down, but the 34-year-old stepped up once again and single-handedly pulled off an epic chase.

A World Cup match, that too against Pakistan. Intensity and emotions were high for players and millions of fans in both countries. It wasn't another India win against Pakistan or another Kohli masterclass, but the comeback of the man who has led the batting unit for over a decade. Kohli went through the worst phase of his career for nearly three years. He announced his return with a maiden T20I century against Afghanistan in the 2022 Asia Cup.

However, it was imperative for Kohli to convince the cricketing fraternity that the chase master in him had not gone anywhere. Batting first, Pakistan posted 159 for 8 in 20 overs on the back of half-centuries from Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed. Chasing a moderate score, India fumbled early on with captain Rohit Sharma (4) and opener KL Rahul (4) departing for cheap scores. T20 master Suryakumar Yadav also failed to sine as India slipped to 4 for 31 in 6.1 overs.  

Kohli played sensibly and looked for a partner who could provide support to take India home. Pakistan were on top but Hardik Pandya joined hands with Kohli to pull India out of trouble. The duo added 113 runs for the fourth wicket to bring India back into the game. India needed 48 off the last 3 overs and it was a perfect cinematic atmosphere at the MCG afterwards.

Kohli's magical shot against Harris Rauff changed fortunes

Kohli took on Shaheen Afridi in the 18th over and reduced the equation to 31 from 12 balls. A couple of boundaries were inevitable in the 19th over, which was bowled by Pakistan's star pacer Haris Rauf. He gave away just 3 runs in the first four deliveries, but there comes the magic from Kohli's bat. "Kohli goes down the ground, Kohli goes out of the ground," commentator Harsha Bhogle on air after Kohli hit an unbelievable straight six on the fifth ball. 

The last ball was also sent for a maximum, stunning the bowler and Pakistan cricket as a whole. But still, 16 runs were needed in the final over and Pandya got out in the first delivery. Dinesh Karthik also unfortunately had to leave the crease, but R Ashwin and Kohli got India through on the last ball of the innings. Not out on 82, Kohli pointed out that some 82s are better than a century.

"Well, it's a surreal atmosphere. I honestly have no words. I have no idea how that happened. Hardik kept telling me, to just believe we can stay till the end. I'm lost for words," Kohli said after the sensational knock.

Here's how fans reacted: 

India Virat Kohli Pakistan T20 World Cup 2022