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When Kohli survived the Amir scare
India-Pakistan Classics

When Kohli survived the Amir scare

As cricket giants from subcontinent turn 70, writers at Cricingif relive the most memorable India-Pakistan encounters.

When India faced Pakistan in Asia Cup, the match, just like any other clash between the rivals, was billed as a huge one. But this match had more significance as both sides would play each other again at the WT20 in less than a month. So a win here would be crucial, especially given how the pitch was a fast bowler’s dream. The match turned out to be a classic despite the fact that there were only 168 runs scored between both sides and 15 wickets fell in just 33 overs. MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first, Pakistan were all out for 83 runs. The only silver lining to the dark cloud which was their batting was Sarfraz Ahmed who scored 25 precious runs. Hardik Pandya was the destroyer in chief as he picked 3 wickets and went for just 8 runs.

At the end of the innings, the match would have been done and dusted, but Pakistan fought and fought like cornered tigers. Amir started off with the wicket of Rohit Sharma in the opening over and in the same over followed it up with the wicket of Ajinkye Rahane. Pakistan did not relent with the ball and kept on persisting and banging on the door with the ball. At the end of the 3rd over India were 9/3. What followed was a master class on how to bat on a minefield of a pitch against a top quality bowling attack. Virat Kohli guided Yuvraj Singh and India through a tricky period in the chase. The battle between Kohli and Amir was a beautiful one to watch, as Amir kept posing tough questions for Kohli and Kohli had all the answers.

Despite the low scores and the horrible Pakistani batting performance, this match can be counted as a classic only because of the way Kohli guided India in that chase. After the start India had suffered, it would need some really good batting, and that’s what India (read: Kohli) did well. To understand how Kohli dominated the Indian batting performance, you just have to read the scorecard. Kohli scored 49 of the 85 runs India scored at 5.4 runs per over, while the rest of the Indian batsmen scored 22 runs at 3 runs per over and extras contributed 14 runs to the Indian total. If before the world had known Kohli for taking down huge totals, the 2016 chase showed the world that Kohli can chase even when the conditions are tough as well.