India registered their first win in the 2016 ICC World T20, defeating Pakistan by six wickets Saturday in a challenging encounter at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Virat Kohli played an important role with the bat, scoring a brilliant 37-ball 55 while chasing Pakistan's score of 118 runs.
This innings should rank as one of his best T20 knocks. It was not an easy pitch to bat on, with the ball turning square and not coming onto the bat as well. To make matters worse, India lost their first three wickets for 23 runs, but Kohli stood firm, countering whatever was thrown at him by the Pakistan bowlers.
Kohli, who failed to help India cross the finishing line against New Zealand after a decent start in the first match, was determined to stay at the crease until the end, and see India home.
"It was a challenging wicket, that's what you want as a cricketer — new challenges to play. Last game (against New Zealand), I was very disappointed to have got out, that really hurt. Even the 49 against Pakistan in Dhaka was really satisfying, that's what you need, a tough pitch a good bowling attack and you pulling your team out of trouble," PTI quoted Kohli as saying.
The wicket spun from the very second over of the game, with Ravichandran Ashwin turning the ball miles. Other spinners like Ravindra Jadeja also got huge turn from the wicket, which made it clear scoring runs was not going to be easy on this Eden Gardens wicket.
When it was Pakistan's turn to bowl, they had to rely on the pacers, as they had played with three frontline pacemen. Pakistan had misread the pitch. Though they had spinners like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, Virat Kohli played brilliantly to help India win.
However, it was not only Kohli who played well: Yuvraj Singh should be applauded for his partnership with the right-hander. They were involved in a 61-run fourth-wicket partnership, which inched India closer to the victory.
Yuvraj scored 24 runs off 23 balls, which was just what the doctor had ordered, with Kohli batting efficiently at the other end. Kohli also praised Yuvraj for his batting performance.
"Yuvraj weathered the storm and then smacked a few. That's Yuvi style. I think these performances are good for him as well, he's in good nick," Kohli said.
India will be brimming with confidence, and will be keen to win back-to-back matches Wednesday as they face Bangladesh in Bengaluru.