It was the perfect stage. A rain hit Kolkata, and a track which offered the perfect ‘sub continental’ pitch. A pitch where the ball would spin to such an extent that someone like Shane Warne could use a ball to spin like a boomerang! India, bowling at the Eden Gardens, the much awaited match against Pakistan.
The Eden Gardens were rain-hit, and the match was reduced to 18 overs a side. Both sides entered unchanged, Pakistan coming off after a major win against Bangladesh, India coming out with a loss against New Zealand.
Historically, India had never won a limited over game against Pakistan at the ground. The odds were against the Indian team, however, this was the first world cup encounter between the two nations at the Eden Garden grounds, and that was the one statistic that India was willing to retain.
In all the world cup encounters, be it the 50 over One Day International cricket or T20 matches, India has had an exceptional winning streak against Pakistan, having never lost a match against them in the world cup.
This time around, the buzz in the air was against them, statistically. India defied all odds as they chased. Shahid Afridi, who was in a tremendous form in the previous match, came out to bat at one-down position, hoping to get back to his ‘boom-boom’ form. However, Afridi was sent back to the pavilion by Hardik Pandya. Pakistan managed to score 118 in a match where their highest individual scorer was Shoaib Malik with 26 runs.
India too, were facing problems early on, as they ended up at 23/3 in 5 overs. The situation looked adverse, but India had the one player that made all the difference – Virat Kohli, the man who has always performed during a chase. He had a good partnership with Yuvraj Singh at the other end and runs started flowing till Yuvraj was taken out by Wahab Riaz.
However, with Virat Kohli batting like a dream, the Indian side had a much greater advantage.
“Captain Cool” MS Dhoni was batting at the other end, taking singles when needed and hitting a mighty six later in the innings.
India steered their way to victory in just 16 overs . The winning streak was kept alive by an incredible performance by Virat Kohli.