India recorded a thrilling four-wicket win against arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game of the T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday (October 23) to get off to a winning start in the tournament. India rode on a stunning unbeaten half-century from Virat Kohli to pull off a miraculous victory at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne.
It was a stellar knock from Kohli, who soaked in all the pressure and launched a fearsome counterattack against the Pakistan bowlers in the death overs to take India home from an improbable situation. With 48 to get off the last 18 balls, Kohli took Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf to the cleaners and brought the equation down to 16 runs required off the last over.
There was thrill, emotions, and drama in the final over as India eventually managed to get over the line on the final delivery. It turned out to be one of the most memorable clashes between India and Pakistan in recent times but the game was marred with some controversy as expected.
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A no-ball decision in the last over from Mohammad Nawaz went in India’s favour and became one of the major talking points in the Pakistan cricket fraternity. Several former cricketers have spoken about the controversial call with former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi becoming the latest to join the bandwagon.
On the 4th delivery of the 20th over, Nawaz bowled a full-toss above waist height to Kohli, who dispatched it for a six with India requiring 13 off the last three deliveries. The umpires had a discussion with Kohli before deeming the delivery as a no-ball which proved to be a game-changing moment for India as the equation was reduced to six required of the last three balls.
“There have been several instances in the past when run-outs have been referred to third umpires in the past. It was a crucial situation in the game and if it was referred to the third umpire then the on-field umpires could have had a clear picture. But they decided to immediately signal a bo ball. They don’t have eagle eyes, they could have referred to the third umpire,” Afridi said on Samaa TV.
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After their thrilling victory against Pakistan, India will be riding high on confidence and will be hoping to continue their winning run against Netherlands in their next Super 12 clash. The Men in Blue are now overwhelming favourites to qualify for the knockout stages from Group 2.