11.12pm And that concludes our live coverage of this game. I need half an hour of simply sitting down and soaking it all in, and I’m sure you do too. But once you’re done, do come back to read and watch all our post-match coverage, which I’m sure will be of the highest quality, much like the game you just witnessed. Congrats to India, tough luck to Pakistan, and let’s hope fans on both sides of the divide react to the result with equanimity and the recognition that this was, above all, a superlative game of cricket. Until next time, it’s goodbye from me, Matt, Ranjith and Thilak.
Rohit Sharma: “I have no voice left. We were always wanting to make sure we stayed in the game as long as possible. We’ve been talking constantly about it. No matter what the situation, you’ve got to believe you can pull through, and that partnership changed the game for us. There was good carry, good swing as well, and we utilised that well up front. That was good to see from the bowling perspective. They batted well in the middle. We knew it would not be an easy target on that pitch. We knew we would have to bat out of our skins. Virat and Hardik are experienced guys. Staying calm and taking it as deep as possible was critical, and they did that. It’s good for our confidence to get off the mark in our first game, and the way we won is more pleasing for us, the way we came back. Hats off to Virat. It has to go off as not one of his best, but the best innings he has played for India. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us, and I will expect nothing less wherever we travel in Australia.”
Babar Azam: “A tight game. We started well in our bowling, and then all credit to Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli. They shifted the momentum and finished the game well. It’s not easy with the new ball, with a little bit of swing and seam. We had a chance, and we just asked the boys to believe in themselves, but again credit to Virat Kohli. We needed a wicket, that’s why we utilised our main bowlers [and kept Nawaz for the end]. A lot of positives. The way Iftikhar played, the way Shan played and finished the innings was good for us.”
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Virat Kohli is the Player of the Match. He’s not able to say much, because it’s just too noisy for that. “Well, it’s a surreal atmosphere. I honestly have no words. I have no idea how that happened. Hardik kept telling me, just believe we can stay till the end. I’m lost for words. Well, I think when Shaheen bowled from the Pavilion end, I told Hardik we have to take him down. The calculation was simple. Nawaz had one over to bowl, so if I could take Haris down, they would panic. It came down to 16 off 6. I’m kind of lost for words. [On the two sixes off Rauf:] It’s just instinctively I saw it, told myself to stay still. The one at long-on was unexpected, it was a back-of-a-length slower ball. The fine leg one, I just threw my bat at it. Till today I said Mohali was my best T20 innings. Then I got 82 off 52, today I got 82 off 53. Both are just as special. All these months when I was struggling, you guys [the crowd] kept me going. Thank you so much.”
Lakshitha: “Pakistanis can hold their heads high…! There was once in a generation player between them and victory. This game lived up to it’s expectation and a lot more! Thank you cricket!”
Manu: “These last 3 Ind-Pak games have been absolute gems, reminds me of the 2004 series where they played after a long time and almost every game was closely competed. Bring back Ind-Pak bilaterals!”
Sixty: “So which is better, Mohali innings or this one.”
Shaik: “The Poll of Cricinfo should have been delayed and this Virat Innings should be included in it or given as wild card entry.”
10.54pm Virat Kohli. A few weeks ago, there were people (myself included) asking if he should still be part of India’s T20I line-up. There’s a reason I’m not a coach or a selector. Let’s go back to the seventh over of this innings. India were 31 for 4, and going absolutely nowhere. What followed was a partnership for the ages between Kohli and Hardik Pandya, and when it came down to the finish, when it came down to 28 to win off eight balls, it was Kohli who found the route to the boundary. Two back-to-back sixes off the excellent Haris Rauf, and that put all the pressure on Mohammad Nawaz, whose last over had been held back right until Pakistan could hide him no more. This game began just under four hours ago, but it feels like it began four weeks ago. That’s how much drama these two teams have packed into this one evening.