Twitter Reactions: Virat Kohli's masterclass leads India to thrilling victory against Pakistan in campaign opener

An epic thriller came to an end with India chasing down the 160-run target on the final delivery.

India vs Pakistan
India vs Pakistan. (Photo Source: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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Excitement, thrills, and fear - an India-Pakistan clash can be summed up by just these three words. And just like every time, the T20 World Cup 2022 contest between the two teams saw all these emotions running through. The players, of both sides, played under utmost pressure when they squared off at the MCG, at the end, India prevailed over Pakistan to bag their first win in the campaign opener.

The game started with India winning the toss and opting to bowl first. Unlike the previous World Cup game against Pakistan, the Men in Blue had a dream start as young pace gun Arshdeep Singh struck very early in just the second over and dismissed the Pakistani skipper Babar Azam for a golden duck. India’s celebrations continued when he returned for his next over and dismissed the in-form opener Mohammad Rizwan for a 12-ball 4, destroying Pakistan’s top order.

Indian bowlers then struggled to pick up the next wicket in the game as Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed put up a well-composed 76-run stand for the third wicket before Ahmed walked back to the pavilion in the 13th over. The middle-order lineup then came crashing down as Pakistan was reduced from 91/3 to 120/7 within just four overs, courtesy of Hardik Pandya. Thanks to the half-centuries by Ahmed and Masood, Pakistan managed to post a defendable target of 160 runs.

Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya power India to an epic win

As good as India’s first innings was, the start to the second innings was terrible as openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma failed to fire, again. Even though the former had been in good touch with the bat of late, he was not able to prove his worth against arch-rivals Pakistan. Naseem Shah picked up Rahul’s wicket, and Haris Rauf scalped Sharma as the duo walked off inside the powerplay.

Just when it looked like the in-form Suryakumar Yadav would work wonders with the bat, as he has in recent times, Rauf struck again and sent him packing. After three early wickets, Axar Patel was promoted up the order, but confusion between him and Virat Kohli led to his dismissal, which marked Pandya’s entry into the chase.

It was then all Kohli and Pandya, as the duo put up a terrific show and shared a 100+ run partnership for the fifth wicket to keep India’s hopes alive. The game came down to the final few overs, and India had a big gap to fill in, but that is when Virat Kohli (82* off 53) fired up and did what he is best known for, which is winning the game. He fired up multiple big sixes to take the game to the final over, and that was not enough as the fans were kept on the edge of their seats till the final ball of the game.

The last-over drama persisted in the game, like always. After Pandya’s dismissal off the first ball of the last over, Dinesh Karthik also failed to charge up and India’s tension increased. But multiple errors by Mohammad Nawaz in the final over, and Indian batters making the best out of it led India to a massive four-wicket victory to open their T20 World Cup 2022 campaign.