Prior to his shots in Melbourne, pundits and fans alike were unanimous in judging Kohli’s 82* against Australia in Mohali at the 2016 T20 World Cup as his best T20I shot ever. But after India’s victory over Pakistan at the MCG in the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup, Kohli said: “Till today Mohali was my best run against Australia. Today, I will count this one higher due to the circumstances.”
India cruised to a thrilling 4-wicket win over fierce rivals Pakistan on Sunday in their opening Super 12 match of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
India chased the target from 160 in 19.1 overs to register a memorable victory. The star of the win for India was Virat Kohli who hit an unbeaten 82 on 53 balls.
India’s hopes of chasing the target down the target seemed remote when the team were down to 31/4 in 6.1 overs. But despite wickets steadily dropping at one end and the required run rate increasing, Kohli kept his composure to steer India to victory.
Kohli was rightfully named the player of the match award. After Kohli collected his Player of the Match trophy, Ravi Shastri asked him in the post-match interview where he rated that move.
To which Kohli said:
“Till today Mohali was my best run against Australia. Today I will count this one higher due to the circumstances.”
Prior to his shots in Melbourne, pundits and fans alike were unanimous in judging Kohli’s 82* against Australia in Mohali at the 2016 T20 World Cup as his best T20I shot ever.
There are some uncanny similarities between the two games.
In Mohali, Australia had set India the target of 161. In Melbourne, India chased 160. In both chases, India started poorly. Australia had reduced India to 49/3, while against Pakistan, India struggled at 31/4. And in both matches, Kohli scored an unbeaten 82 to bring India home.
So what made Kohli rate his 82 in Melbourne against his 82 in Mohali?
First, the opponent.
The India-Pakistan game is always a high-stakes battle. The pressure on players from both sides is immense. So any winning performance in an India-Pakistan game is always special for the players.
Moreover, the recent head-to-head record favored Pakistan. Pakistan had emerged victorious in two of the last three meetings between the two sides. Their 10-wicket win over India in last year’s T20 World Cup was one of the most comprehensive wins in the history of India-Pakistan matches.
Pakistan brings us to the second reason, the bowling attack.
While Australia for this match had a bowling attack consisting of Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa, Pakistan’s bowling attack had Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan and Mohamed Nawaz.
Although Australia had more bowling options, Pakistan’s bowling attack was more complete.
Third, the ground.
At Mohali, Kohli managed to get nine fours and two sixes for 48 points just inbounds. In his Melbourne shot, Kohli managed to hit six fours and four sixes which also gives 48. But the MCG is one of the biggest cricket grounds in the world when it comes to size limits. So clearing the border at the MCG is no small feat.