Two cricketing giants India and Pakistan were involved in one of the most thrilling T20I matches in the history of cricket. The Men in Blue and the Boys in Green left no stone unturned in the high-octane T20 World Cup match in Australia. It was a mouthwatering end to the nail-biter where Virat Kohli's magic led India beat their arch-rivals by 4 wickets at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The former Indian skipper was the cornerstone of India's success in the match and his two sixes off Haris Rauf were to cherish for a long time.
Haris Rauf, who was given the big responsibility to bowl the penultimate over of the game has now revealed his plan for the all-important big over. Speaking to a Pakistani website, Rauf stated that he planned to exploit the longer square boundaries and wanted to keep the Indian batters quiet.
"Look, India required 31 off the last 12 balls. I had given away only three runs off four deliveries. I knew Nawaz was bowling the last over, he is a spinner and I had tried to leave at least four big boundaries for him and leave at least more than 20 runs," said Rauf to Pakistan's 'Cricwick' website.
After bowling tight first four deliveries, what was needed was to just close the over well. Rauf opened up on his plan for the 5th delivery that was sent out of the park by Kohli.
"And since 28 were required off the last eight balls, I (had) bowled three slower ones and he was deceived. I had only bowled one quick ball out of four. So the idea (on the 5th ball) was to bowl a slower one on that back-of-a-length zone since the dimensions of the square boundary were bigger," he added.
But what followed shell-shocked Rauf and the Pakistan team.
I had not idea how he did that- Rauf
Opening up on Virat Kohli's two sixes, Rauf said, "I had no idea that he (Kohli) can hit me down the ground off that length. So when he hit that shot off me, that's his class. My plan and execution were fine but that shot was all class.
Karthik or Pandya hitting would have hurt me- Rauf
Hailing the class of Virat Kohli, the Pakistani seamer said that other players hitting shots like that to him would have hur him but Kohli was class apart.
"That was his class and the kind of shots that he plays, and the two sixes that he hit, I don't think any other player could hit that kind of shots. Had Dinesh Karthik or Hardik Pandya hit me like that, I would have been hurt but that was Kohli, and that's a different class," the Pakistani bowler added.
The two sixes had set the stage for India. With 16 needed in the final over of Nawaz and after getting the momentum, India had the upper hand. But Pakistan did not give up. The spinner sent Pandya back on the first ball but was pushed far back when Kohli hit a six off a no-ball on 4th ball. Even though Karthik was stumped on the 5th ball, Ashwin's loft on the final ball sealed the game for India.