Virat Kohli smashed a blistering 183 off 148 balls as India produced their highest ever run chase to beat Pakistan by six-wickets on Sunday and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Asia Cup final.
Chasing a daunting 330 victory target, India pulled off a thrilling win with 13 balls to spare thanks to Kohli, who notched up his third ODI century in four matches.
Rohit Sharma (68) and Sachin Tendulkar (52) also chipped in as India surpassed their previous highest successful run chase of 326-8 against England in 2002.
Kolhi belted 22 boundaries and one six, while Tendulkar and Sharma also clobbered the Pakistan bowlers, with each hitting five fours and a six.
Pakistan qualified for Thursday’s final despite losing to India as they had earlier registered wins against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, earning a bonus point in the process.
India must now hope Sri Lanka, who have already been eliminated, beat Bangladesh in the final round-robin match today if they are to go through to the final.
India’s Asia Cup campaign suffered a setback following their shock five-wicket defeat by Bangladesh on Friday, meaning that the hosts will go through to the final if they beat Sri Lanka as head-to-head results are taken into account before net run rate.
India’s dazzling batting display on Sunday completely overshadowed the 224-run opening partnership by Pakistan’s Nasir Jamshed (112) and Mohammad Hafeez (105).
The duo looked to have put the match out of India’s reach as they could not be separated until the 36th over. Jamshed was the first to fall after he tried to hoist a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery over the boundary, but instead found Irfan Pathan, who was fortunate not to drop the catch.
Hafeez was trapped LBW by pace bowler Ashok Dinda just three balls later, but not before the duo had laid the foundations for Pakistan to post 329 for six from their 50 overs.
When opener Gautam Gambhir perished for a duck in the second ball of the Indian innings, it seemed as if Pakistan would be soon celebrating a quick victory.
Kohli had other ideas.
The 23-year-old shared a 133-run second-wicket partnership with Tendulkar and both players produced a flurry of boundaries to ensure India were on top of the required run rate.
“We lost a wicket on the second ball and my plan was to go in there and get a big partnership for the second wicket,” Kohli told reporters.
“Chasing 330, if you have wickets in hand, say you are 140 for one, there’s something to think about. That was our plan to put pressure on them. I think we executed it perfectly,” he added.
Tendulkar, who completed an unprecedented 100 international centuries against Bangladesh on Friday, was foxed by a doosra off Sajeed Ajmal and was caught by Younus Khan at slip.
Kohli, dropped by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal on 2, punished the Pakistan bowlers for the let off and added a further 172 runs with Sharma to put India firmly in control.
Kohli was finally dismissed in the 48th over after edging a Umar Gul delivery to Hafeez, but by then India were 12 runs short of their target and they easily knocked off the remaining runs.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq praised India’s performance.
“Whatever the wicket or conditions, chasing 329 is difficult. The manner in which they batted, [they] outclassed us. Credit to them,” he said.
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