Just as a throbbing Melbourne Cricket Ground was coming to terms with India’s sensational win over Pakistan and Virat Kohli’s astonishing knock, Indian captain Rohit Sharma walked out, broke into a run and hoisted his predecessor on his shoulders.
There was joy, respect, camaraderie and relief in that moment as a magical Sunday ebbed into the mists of time and an ICC T20 World Cup game became part of the record books.
He (Kohli) used his experience today more than anything else, staying calm under pressure, and we know how good he is when the score is in front of him
— Rohit Sharma on Kohli
Later as Rohit squared up to the media, the first query was about his impressions of Kohli’s knock and the surround-sound around his team-mate’s form.
The skipper was quick on the riposte: “Speaking about Virat, I honestly don’t think he was struggling with form. He was batting as good as he was, but with him, the expectations are always so high that even if he gets a good 30 or 40, people tend to talk about it.
From the team management perspective, he was in good space right from the Asia Cup.
He was fresh, got a brilliant hundred there, and then leading up to the World Cup, we know the quality that he has, and he’s done so well in these type of conditions in all three forms.
Obviously, he used his experience today more than anything else, staying calm under pressure, and we know how good he is when the score is in front of him. He is one of the best chasers in the world.”
When pressed about whether this is the best he has seen from Kohli, Rohit went one step ahead and said: “It has to be one of India’s best knocks, not just his best knock, because until the 13th over we were behind the game, and the required rate was just climbing up. But to come out and chase that score was an extremely brilliant effort from Virat, and then obviously Hardik (Pandya) played a role there, as well.”
And what was the mood in the dressing room leading up to that nail-biting last over?
“We were thinking that if we can keep about 15 to 18 runs in the last over, the bowler is going to be under pressure. He (Mohammad Nawaz) bowled that last over against us in Asia Cup and Hardik played some shots against him. Obviously it’s not easy when you have to bowl the last over being a spinner with only 16 runs to defend.”