Before his Melbourne knocks the experts and fans were unanimous in judging Kohli's 82* against Australia in Mohali in the 2016 T20 World Cup as his best T20I knock ever. But after India's win over Pakistan at the MCG in ICC T20 World Cup 2022, Kohli said: "Till today Mohali was my best innings against Australia. Today I will count this one higher because of the circumstances. "
India stormed to a thrilling 4-wicket win over fierce rivals Pakistan in their first Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
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India chased down the target of 160 in 19.1 overs to record a memorable win. The star of the win for India was Virat Kohli who hit an unbeaten 82 in 53 balls.
India's hope of chasing the target down the target seemed distant when the team was reduced to 31/4 in 6.1 overs. But despite the wickets kept tumbling at one end and the required run rate mounting, Kohli kept his cool to steer India to the win.
Kohli deservedly was adjudged the Player of the Match award. After Kohli collected his Player of the Match trophy, he was asked by Ravi Shastri in the post-match interview about where he rates this knock.
To which Kohli said:
"Till today Mohali was my best innings against Australia. Today I will count this one higher because of the circumstances. "
Before his Melbourne knocks the experts and fans were unanimous in judging Kohli's 82* against Australia in Mohali in the 2016 T20 World Cup as his best T20I knock ever.
There are eerie similarities between the two matches.
At Mohali, Australia had set India the target of 161. At Melbourne, India was chasing 160. In both the chases India was off to poor starts. Australia had reduced India to 49/3, while against Pakistan India was struggling at 31/4. And in both matches, Kohli notched an unbeaten 82 to steer India home.
So what made Kohli rate his 82 in Melbourne over his 82 in Mohali?
Firstly, the opponent.
The India-Pakistan match is always a high stake battle. The pressure that the players from the two sides experience is immense. So, any match-winning performance in an India-Pakistan match is always special for the players.
Also, the recent head-to-head record favored Pakistan. Pakistan had emerged victorious in two of the last three meetings between the two sides. Their 10-wicket win over India in last year's T20 World Cup was one of the most comprehensive wins in the history of India-Pakistan matches.
Pakistan leads us to the second reason, the bowling attack.
While Australia for that match had a bowling attack that comprised of Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, and Adam Zampa, Pakistan's bowling attack had Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.
Although Australia had more bowling options but Pakistan's bowling attack was more well-rounded.
Thirdly, the ground.
In Mohali, Kohli was able to get nine fours and two sixes which amounted to 48 runs just in boundaries. In his Melbourne knock, Kohli was able to hit six fours and four sixes which also results in 48. But the MCG is one of the biggest cricket grounds in the world when it comes to boundary dimensions. So clearing the boundary at the MCG is no mean feat.