India v Pakistan, World T20 2016, Group 2, Kolkata March 19, 2016

'That 50 is worth approximately 237'


Like before every India-Pakistan match, there was plenty of hype in the build-up.

Pakistan were given a pep talk by their greatest ever cricketer.

But there were worries that there may be no game as a thunderstorm hit Kolkata hours before the scheduled start. The whole ground was under covers for hours, before the weather finally improved.

The toss was delayed, and there were speeches from several megastars before the game eventually got underway at 8.30pm local time. Exactly the time when Earth Hour was to be observed.

Here's what one of the key officials of the Cricket Association of Bengal said about the surface.

The Eden Gardens pitch turned out to be a raging turner, though the tracks in two World T20 matches earlier in the week had been far more conventional T20 surfaces.

With the ball ripping and bouncing, scoring proved to be difficult.

Flat pitches are common in T20s, but the testing Kolkata surface was appreciated by some players.

Pakistan, though, hadn't read the conditions properly, picking four fast bowlers and having only Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as the spinners.

There was some puzzling captaincy from MS Dhoni as well. He gave his spinners only eight overs.

It was a struggle for Pakistan's batsmen, but thanks to cameos from Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik, the target for India was a reasonably stiff 119. Pakistan fans expected Mohammad Amir to deliver, but the man who struck twice early was the recalled Mohammad Sami.

As is becoming increasingly common in difficult chases, Virat Kohli was the man India were banking on.

He had already done the job three weeks ago on a tough Mirpur surface, but this was a different type of challenge.

After India's initial jitters, Kohli produced another chasing masterclass.

On reaching his 50, Kohli bowed to his idol Sachin Tendulkar, who was watching the game from the stands.

The win meant India maintained their perfect record against Pakistan in World Cups and World T20s.

Pre-tournament favourites India still have plenty to do to make the semi-finals, but their fans were delighted with the day's performance.

Siddarth Ravindran is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. Twitter @SidRavindran

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kartik on March 20, 2016, 13:04 GMT

    @jbkshah: Here is the difference. Kholi had Yuvi hold up one end so he could pace his innings. You want to know what it was for SRT then look at the previous match and how Dhoni was left standing alone that was SRT career esp in his prime. On paper vs. NZ we had a great betting line up batting all the way to #9 but all of them got out (including Kholi - granted he cannot play a match winning innings every time). That is what cricket is all about you need help. Today Yuvi stuck around. Again pls go back and see how many batsman stuck around with Tendulkar or how many times our blowing attacked performed. You will see a clear pattern that every time someone else played a supporting role with SRT or the bowlers showed up then India won..

    Let me ask you a simple question -- look at the Australia test series in Australia, Kholi scored all those hundreds what happened? Except for Rhane and Murli (occasionally) and no bowling support what was the result? 2-0 in favor of Aus.

  • Kartik on March 20, 2016, 12:18 GMT

    @Indo123: you are an ungrateful Indian fan with that comment about SRT.

    @Devanshu2005: is the 2005 the year you were born? If so I can understand the comment about SRT otherwise I am really perplexed. If SRT had the kind of bowling attack Ponting, Inzy or Lara had in their prime ... His record of scoring match winning innings which is quite impressive would be even more impressive.

    Just to put things in perspective the Pak attack was - Wasim, Wakar, Aqiub, Mustak and Saklain plus a few others that would float in and out. WI was Walsh, Ambrose, Bishop, Patterson etc, Australia has McGrath, Gellispie, Warne etc. India has Srisanth (let me pant please) , off spinner Prasad, straight fast blower Kumble.

    How do bowlers matter look at Lara's record toward the end he scored all those runs but WI lost all those match including his record breaking series in SL. Look it up. Defense usually wins, pitching wins in baseball and Bowling gets you over the hump in cricket.

  • Jatish on March 20, 2016, 11:44 GMT

    @anil bhaskar. Just compare Kohli's performance as at today with SRT's performance at the same stage of his career and you will realize that Kohli is not behind the great SRT.

  • B Venky on March 20, 2016, 11:00 GMT

    Despite the win, there were shortcomings with Dhoni's captaincy. He is riding on luck rather than his cricketing brain. On a turning track Pakistan could have been bowled out for under 100 like in Mirpur had Dhoni read the pitch well and utilized his spinners including Yuvraj properly.

  • Jose on March 20, 2016, 8:23 GMT

    @BANGLAFAN ON MARCH 20, 2016, 4:16 GMT

    Is it not strange that we fans criticise Pak Captain for bring in spinners to bowl.

    And criticise Ind Captain for NOT 'using' his spinners - one over of Adshwin, 4 overs of Yuvi & three overs of Raina.

    How do these contrasting views co-exist?

    Are n't we fans like our 'soul mates', some of who are never satisfied with anything in life, and keep on whining! For, and ever more!

  • DIVYANSHU on March 20, 2016, 8:19 GMT

    @Anil Bhaskar - good to praise Kohli and keep comparing him to SRT has he has covered miles and has just few more steps to go.....

  •   Anil Bhaskar on March 20, 2016, 5:36 GMT

    good to praise kholi but do not compare him to srt he has miles to go.

  • Ganesh on March 20, 2016, 4:25 GMT

    Virat a True class and miles ahead of others, Just need a over and he is in total control and knows what to do and when to do, One of the alltime legend in the making!!!!!!

  • fazle on March 20, 2016, 4:16 GMT

    The match was lost for Pakistan when, having india in a tight squeeze with early wickets taken by sami and Amir, Afridi decided to let these bowlers take rest after oly two overs each, and brought himself and Shoaib Malik into the attack. this totally lifted the pressure off India.


  • anil on March 20, 2016, 2:23 GMT

    @Indo123 . I agree Kholi's comparison with SRT. But FYI U might be forgetting the days where The only reason INdia won is Sachin and this was story for many years.

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