Kohli special steers India home on a turner

There was rain, but the Eden Gardens wasn’t submerged. There was a pitch that made spinners seem like grenade launchers. There were 61,337 people including certifiable legends of the game from Sachin Tendulkar to Imran Khan. All of it added to the spectacle of India-Pakistan cricket, but Virat Kohli rose one step above with an innings of gumption and class. India won this special match by 6 wickets against Pakistan.

India needed to win tonight to stay in control of their fate at the World T20. A few tactical errors left them with a competitive 119 to chase. When the ball grips into the deck, slows down and simultaneously turns, a batsman’s judgment becomes of great importance. Hitting on the up carries risk. Playing too far away carries risk. Finding a run a ball can be troublesome. Kohli found 55 of them in only 37 balls to beat Pakistan with 13 balls to spare.

Earlier, Pakistan made 118 for five in 18 overs against India in their crucial match in the World Twenty20 Super Ten Group Two here at Eden Gardens on Saturday night.

Sent into bat by India captain Mahindra Singh Dhoni, Pakistan openers Ahmed Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan made a cautious start but as soon they began to speed up the score they lost their wickets.

Pakistan reached 50 in the tenth over after losing both the openers. Sharjeel for 17 and Shehzad for 25.

Then came in captain Shahid Afridi, promoting himself at number three but he could make only eight facing 14 balls.

However, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik made some recovery adding 40 runs off 24 balls and Pakistan crossed the 100-run mark in the 16th over. But both departed in the span of just four runs. Akmla made 22 and Malik scored 26. Both hit a six each, the only two sixes in the Pakistan innings.

Later, Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Hafeez tried to accelerate the score but could finish it at 118-5.

The match was reduced to a 18-overs-a-side after it was delayed by an hour due to a wet outfield.

Pakistan made one change in the team which won against Bangladesh . They brought in fast bowler Mohammad Sami in place of left-arm spinner Imad Wasim while India were unchanged since their loss to New Zealand on the opening day of the Super 10s.

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