India and Pakistan World Cup Match, 2015 saw a unique record by Virat Kohli.
India and Pakistan cricket matches are infrequent nowadays due to the ongoing tension and restrained political relationship. But with the intensity of a battle, these matches live up to its billings more often than not. Nowadays, these two countries generally meet only during multi-national tournaments like the World Cup and Asia cup. Although India has the upper hand in recent times, it was not the case always and time to time, both teams deliver some memorable encounters.
Indian And Pakistan World Cup Encounters
In the first four World Cups, India and Pakistan did not get a chance of face-off. They were the joint organizers in 1987 and when they qualified for the semi-final, the fans from both the countries hoped a final showdown between them. But both India and Pakistan faltered and Australia played England in the final in the Eden Gardens.
India and Pakistan first met in a World Cup game in 1992 and since then there is an India-Pakistan clash in every World Cup except 2007 when both the teams were relegated from their respective groups. Most of the Indian fans proudly cherish the fact that in 50-over World Cup India has a 6-0 scoreline against Pakistan, which was hyped more before the 2015 World Cup with the famous ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad by the official broadcasters in India.
In 2011, they faced each other in the semi-final in Mohali which India won by 29 runs and went on to play the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
Once the grouping of the 2015 World Cup was announced cricket fans were delighted to see, India and Pakistan placed in the same group. Similarly, arch-rivals England and Australia were placed in the same group. On February 15, 2015, India started their campaign against Pakistan.
Virat Kohli Amazed All
There were few changes in the teams especially for India but still, there were players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Misbah-ul Haq and Shahid Afridi who were part of their 2011 clash. MS Dhoni won the toss and as was the norm in such pressure matches opted to bat first.
After a solid start by Rohit and Shikhar, Kohli replaced Rohit in the 8th over. After an early chance, Kohli was set quickly and looked in sublime touches and kept rotating the strike with few exceptional shots in between. However, Kohli understood the importance of him staying in the middle and mostly played risk-free cricket. Shikhar was in good touch and the duo added 129 runs in 23 overs. Once Shikhar was gone, Suresh Raina came and helped India to get the big push around 40th over. He scored a 56-ball 74 with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes. Kohli, on the other hand, grew on his innings and reached his well-deserved hundred in the 43rd over.
With this Kohli became the only batsman to score centuries in his country’s opening matches in two consecutive World Cups. He also scored a 100 against Bangladesh in India’s first match during the 2011 World Cup. This also made him the only Indian to have a century on World Cup debut. The century came at Adelaide Oval, Kohli’s lucky venue.
Pakistan tried their best but Mohammad Shami ensured that they were never in the hunt. Shami’s four wickets included Younis Khan, Misbah, Afridi and Wahab Riaz. India ended up with a comfortable 76 runs win to open their World Cup defense.
Four years have passed and the legend of Virat Kohli has grown further. Now he is the Indian captain and world’s best batsman in all formats. With another World Cup in a few months, when India will start their campaign against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, India fans all over the world will hope for an encore from him and wish him to complete his hat-trick of centuries in World Cup opening matches.
Also Read: OnThisDay – 14th Feb