Super cool Kohli steers India home
Virat Kohli’s sparkling 78 not out lifted India to a decisive and much-needed eight-wicket win over rivals Pakistan in their Super Eight, Group 2 fixture at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
Full Scorecard: India v Pakistan
Kohli, who offered a tough chance to Umar Akmal at point on 42, notched a wonderful half-century, adding 74 for the second wicket with Virender Sehwag (29), before he and Yuvraj Singh (19 not out) cruised to 129 for two with 18 balls to spare.
Pakistan could muster only 128, as they were bowled out with two balls to spare in their innings. India’s talisman was Yuvraj Singh, who snared two wickets for 16 and added a brilliant run-out from point in an impressive display in the field.
Only Shoaib Malik (28) and Umar Akmal (21) put up any real resistance against the fired-up Indians, in front of a full house in Colombo.
They added 47 for the sixth wicket, but both fell victim to offspinner R Ashwin, who ended with exemplary figures of 2 for 16 from his allotted four overs.
Irfan Pathan had got the ball rolling for India, after Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat first.
Pathan trapped Imran Nazir in front, before Shahid Afridi briefly raised Pakistan's hopes with a couple of boundaries.
But the big-hitting veteran then mistimed Lakshmipathy Balaji to Suresh Raina on the deep-midwicket boundary for 14.
This video is not available in your region
Yuvraj then got in on the act, inducing edges from Nasir Jamshed (4) and Kamran Akmal (5), which were both gobbled up by skipper MS Dhoni, as Pakistan fell to 49 for four.
Malik and Akmal tried in vain to resurrect the innings, but couldn’t get any momentum going.
When they both fell in successive Ashwin overs, the Pakistani innings was stuttering to a halt at 115 for seven.
Yuvraj then expertly hit the timber from backward point, to find Yasir Arafat (8) just short of his ground.
Umar Gul, who starred with the bat against South Africa, clubbed a six and a four, but when he and Saeed Ajmal looped catches to Dhoni, the game was up for Pakistan for a paltry 128 in 19.4 overs.
In reply, India lost Gautam Gambhir to the second ball of the innings, caught and bowled by Raza Hasan, before Sehwag and Kohli played some wonderful strokes to take India to the brink.
They raised their 50 partnership off 46 balls, before Kohli opened up his shoulders, lifting Afridi over the top for six, and also unfurling several well-timed off-side strokes.
Sehwag, who looked to be returning to form just in time for the business end of the tournament, was ousted by Afridi, held by Umar Gul, but by then the writing was on the wall.
Kohli reached his fifty off 41 balls, with a fine cut off Saeed Ajmal, before Yuvraj wrapped up the win with three overs to spare.
India’s win threw Group 2 wide open, with all four teams (India, Pakistan, South Africa and leaders Australia) in with a mathematical chance of progressing to the semifinals in Tuesday’s last set of group fixtures.
INDIA: V Sehwag, G Gambhir, V Kohli, SK Raina, Yuvraj Singh, RG Sharma, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), IK Pathan, R Ashwin, Z Khan, L Balaji
PAKISTAN: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal