The Super 12 match in T20 World Cup 2022 between India and Pakistan was one of the most closely-fought encounters between the two arch-rivals. The contest proved to be a nail biting thriller which kept the audience engaged till the very end as India chased down the target of 160 runs, thus winning the match by four wickets off the last ball of the game. In a see-saw contest, both teams gave it their all, and even though India won the battle of nerves, Pakistan took away plenty of positives.
Shoaib Akhtar was all praise for the Pakistan team, on his YouTube Channel. The former Pakistan quick commended the heroes of Pakistan – the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood, whose half-centuries steadied the innings after they had lost openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan cheaply – and then their pacers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, who rocked India early reducing them to 31/4.
“Pakistan have done marvelously well. Don’t be down, you all really played well. India did really well… they won one of the best matches in the history. It was a complete World Cup match. It had everything- dropped catch, run-out, no-ball, controversies, stumping,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel. “World Cup has just started, World Cup begins only when India-Pakistan play and the two teams will face off again. Pakistan will see India again, later in this World Cup.”
Akhtar then went on to reserve special praise for the star of the evening, Virat Kohli, for his magnificent 82 not out off 53 balls. Many hailed Kohli’s innings as the best his best T20 knock, including the Player of the Match himself. And Akhtar, who has always been vocal towards his support for the former India captain even during his low phase, termed it the ‘biggest’ performance of his life.
“Jab Irade toot-te hai toh yakeen bahar aata hai aur jab yakeen pukhta ho jata hai toh character bahar aata hai and uska naam Virat Kohli hai,” (When you’re down, self confidence has to be revived and when confidence gets consolidated, character gets channelised and Virat Kohli is a personification of the same) Akhtar pointed out.
“Mere khyal me zindagi ki sabse badi innings wo khel gaye. Wo isliye khel gaye kyunki unko yakin tha ki wo kar jayega ( He played the biggest innings of his life). He could play the knock because he had the self belief and character),” explained Akhtar.
The former Pakistan then came up with an unexpected take on Kohli regarding the star India batter’s T20I career. “He is back with a bang. I want him to retire from T20I because I don’t want that he puts his entire energy in T20I cricket. With similar commitment like today, he can score three centuries in ODIs,” Akhtar said on Kohli.