Kohli’s classic ‘one of India’s best knocks, not just his best’ as cricket world buzzes with excitement

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India captain Rohit Sharma has hailed Virat Kohli’s extraordinary match-winning knock as one of the greatest in the country’s proud cricket history.

The superstar batter rose to the massive occasion in front of 90,293 fans at the MCG on Sunday night, lifting India to an unforgettable four-wicket win over Pakistan in their opening Twenty20 World Cup match.

India appeared destined to begin the tournament with a disappointing defeat to their biggest rivals, having stumbled to 4-31 chasing Pakistan’s 8-159.

But Kohli teamed up with Hardik Pandya (40) for a rescue mission, with the pair putting on a 113-run fourth-wicket partnership to give India a chance.

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Kohli was still there at the end, unbeaten on 82, as Ravi Ashwin hit the winning run off the final ball to send the Indian fans into pandemonium.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 23: Virat Kohli of India bats during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Pockett-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar urged Kohli to keep it going as India try to win their first T20 World Cup since the inaugural event in 2007.

He posted the staggering knock “was undoubtedly the best innings of your life. It was a treat to watch you play, the six off the back foot in the 19th over against Rauf over long on was spectacular.”

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Sharma believes his predecessor as India captain played an innings that will go down in cricket folklore.

“We know how good he is when the score is in front of him, he’s one of the best chasers in the world,” Sharma said of Kohli.

“Definitely his best, but I think from the situation we were in and to come out (with) victory, I think it has to be one of India’s best knocks, not just his best.

“To come out and chase that score was an extremely brilliant effort from Virat and then obviously Hardik played a role there as well.”

Even India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was compelled to post a tribute on social media for the “well fought victory” to say Kohli produced “a spectacular innings in which he demonstrated remarkable tenacity”.

One of the greatest batters of his generation, Kohli has not been up to his usual prolific standards over the last three years.

The 33-year-old went almost three years without scoring a century before smashing an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan in last month’s Asia Cup.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 23: Virat Kohli of India celebrates after the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Pockett-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Sharma defended Kohli’s form, saying he never wavered in his faith for a player who has made 71 tons at international level.

“I honestly don’t think he was struggling with form or anything,” Sharma said.

“He was batting as good, but with him the expectations are always so high so even if he gets a good 30 or 40 that doesn’t get spoken about.” 

India are next in action against the Netherlands at the SCG on Thursday as they eye their first T20 World Cup title since 2007.

The Indian PM was joined by a host of cricketers past and present, commentators and celebrities in awe of what they had witnessed at the MCG.



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