Sunil Gavaskar has stated that India captain Virat Kohli played a terrific innings against Pakistan despite losing both openers in the initial overs. The former Indian captain was impressed with the bowling performance of Shaheen Afridi, and stated that he bowled well according to pitch conditions.
India suffered a 10-wicket defeat against Pakistan in their opening fixture on Sunday in Dubai, and the arch-rivals claimed their first-ever World Cup victory against the Men in Blue. After being asked to bat first, Shaheen Afridi tormented the Indian batting as he scalped the wickets of Sharma and KL Rahul early in the innings. Virat Kohli, who walked out to bat after the dismissal of Rohit, stood solid one end and scored a sensible half-century. During his innings, Kohli partnered for a 53-run along with Rishabh Pant (39) and later stitched up a 41-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja for the fifth wicket. Virat Kohli's 57 off 49 balls guided India to 151/7. However, Pakistan openers Babar Azam (68*) and Mohammad Rizwan (79*) helped thier side to register a 10-wicket victory over India.
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar stated that Virat Kohli played a terrific innings under pressure despite losing both Rohit Sharma and Kl Rahul in the powerplay. The former Indian captain further added that the six hit by Kohli off Shaheen underlines his amazing talent.
“It was a terrific inning because India had lost their openers in the powerplay itself, so there was a greater sense of responsibility on Kohli’s shoulders because he now had to pace the innings he thought to repair the innings and also get India to a total which they could hope to defend. So, the way he paced his innings, the way he chose the shots to break free at times, and the six that he hit off Shaheen Afridi. Absolutely amazing talent," Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
The former India captain also lauded Shaheen Afridi for his bowling as clinched three wickets in the game.
“The way Shaheen Afridi was bowling, he was mixing it up quite well, he was angling the ball across the right hand and he was getting the ball to turn back in after pitching, not so much in the air because you don't get that much help in the UAE. That's why it was important for Kohli to try and step out so that he would be able to then negate the amount of swing that Shaheen Afridi was getting and that's how he was able to negotiate that and score runs off Shaheen Afridi," the former India captain added.
India will next face New Zealand on Sunday, October 31 in Dubai.