The article speaks about the great heroics of Virat Kohli in Eden Gardens against Pakistan. India defeated Pakistan again and that too comprehensively.
Virat Kohli heroics outplayed Pakistan at Eden Gardens.
It was Virat Kohli again. He had become a superstar of Indian cricket. Before a packed house at Eden Gardens at Kolkata he came, he saw and he conquered. The match was played between India and Pakistan on 19th March, 2016.
Firstly Pakistan’s match in India was an uncertainty. Due to failure to give security in Dharmshala, the Himachal Pradesh government declined to host the match. But West Bengal Government invited Pakistan and the match was held in Kolkata.
It was a star-studded night.
While Pakistani dignitaries like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis were felicitated, Indian giants like Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bacchan were felicitated. Sachin was invited with his family.
After all the arrangements were done, the Rain-Gods made a mess. A strong Kalbaishakhi caused heavy rain 1 hour before the match. But to excellent covers and rainwater – soaking devices Eden Gardens finally could host the match. The number of overs were reduced and it end up as a 18 over match.
While Shafaqat Amanat Ali sang the national anthem of Pakistan, Amitabh Bacchan sang the national anthem of India along with the players. It was a delightful sight. Every time Amitabh Bacchan came in Kolkata, his presence made the program grand. He came with his own expenses and was appreciated for the gesture by Imran Khan and other giants. Sourav Ganguly was excellent in his role in hosting the match and administering the affairs of CAB. Mamta Banerjee also should good gesture before the dignitaries.
But the wicket of Eden Gardens shocked everyone. It was a slow turning wicket. Dhoni won the toss and elected to field. Shahid Afridi made a mess in selecting his team. In a turning track he selected 4 fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Shami and Wahab Riyaz. In the spinning department it was only Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi himself who could bowl.
Pakistan made a worst start. Sharjeel Khan and Shehzad struggled in the initial overs and it was moral victory for Ashish Nehra and Ravichandran Aswin who opened the bowling. In the first 5 overs Pakistan could not score even 25 runs. Shahid Afridi promoted himself up the order and it was another blunder. He scored only 8 runs in 14 balls and worsened the situation of Pakistan. After Ashwin Ravindra Jadeja turned the ball square and most of the balls were unplayable. Pandya took stunner of a catch to dismiss Sharjeel Khan.
Shahid Afridi’s batting plan was hopeless. He should have allowed the inform Pakistani batsman Sarfaraz and Mohammad Hafeez to play the topclass spin of Ashwin and Jadeja.
In the middle overs Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal did some rescue work by hitting few sixes and few boundaries. They could slog in the overs of Bumrah and Pandya. But at the end of 18 overs Pakistan could manage only 118 runs in their allotted 18 overs.
Pakistani bowlers got little purchase from the wicket. Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan instead of bowling fast swinging deliveries, went for cutters and slower delivery. Rohit Sharma mishit one of the balls of Mohammad Amir and got out for 10 runs.
But Mohammad Sami dismissed Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina in 2 consecutive balls and left India reeling at 23 for 3 wickets. But Afridi again made a blunder. When the fast bowlers created doubts in the mind of batsmen, he brought himself in the attack and Shoaib Malik for the other end. It was monumental blunder.
Both Virat Kohli and Yuvraaj played the overs of Afridi and Malik easily and that eased the pressure. Both of them hit 1 over boundary each and few boundaries. Virat Kohli had been a sensation. His cover drives penetrated field. He was beaten by any bowler. It was chanceless stylish exhibition of strokeplay.
Yuvraaj Singh scored a quickfire 25 runs and got out in the deep when he went to slog a ball in the middle-overs. By that time India’s target had reduced and few runs were required to win the match.
Dhoni came in and hit a huge six back to the bowler. India won the match with 6 wickets and more than 1 over to play. Virat Kohli remained unbeaten with 55 runs and bowed before Sachin Tendulkar in the gallery when he scored his half-century.
Pakistan never lost to India in the Eden Gardens before. India broke that record. It has many times in the recent past that Indian team had defeated Pakistan in both One Day international and T20 matches.
In the Indian conditions the wickets in T20 World Cup had behaved abnormally. While South Africa in the match against England at Wankhede Stadium scored a monumental 229 runs in 20 overs and still lost the match. England scored those 230 runs with brilliant performance of Joe Root scoring 83 runs of 47 balls.
On the other hand India could not score 127 runs in Nagpur against New Zealand. It was a very low scoring match with India getting bundled out for 79 runs. A slow turning wicket sealed the fate of both the teams. England scored 183 runs versus West Indies and due to Chris Gayle heroics West Indies comfortably won the match.
Few days back when Pakistan defeated Bangladesh in Eden Gardens the wicket was different. Pakistan scored 201 runs in 20 overs in the same venue. May be rain had messed up with the wicket and the pitch where India and Pakistan played was damp, slow and square turner. It was a disappointment for the fans who came to see fours and sixes in the shorter format of the game. India has to defeat Bangladesh and Australia to enter the Semi-finals. It is not difficult with excellent form of Virat Kohli. If Virat Kohli can continue the form that he is in tests and one day internationals he may destroy the record of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who was a run machine. Everyone enjoyed the game in Eden Gardens on 19th March, Amitabh Bacchan, his family, Sachin Tendulkar, his family, Madhur Bhandarkar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Imran Khan and all the dignitaries from both the countries.
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