There is nothing that comes close to teaching life lessons as sport does. Year after year, match after and one contest after the other, there is not a thing that entertains as well as educates with the help of the drama that live sport produces. Perhaps one cricket match in recent times that will be etched in the memories of fans and the cricketing fraternity alike will be the India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2022 fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on October 23.
After India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and asked Pakistan to have a bat first, the Men in Blue got early wickets and at one stage reduced Pakistan to 15/2 in 4 overs. However, half-centuries from Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34) and Shan Masood (52* off 42) helped the Men in Green revive their innings and ultimately a quick cameo from Shaheen Shah Afridi towards the end overs helped them finish at a competitive 159/8.
In response, India too lost early wickets and in fact, looked like they had lost control of their run chase when Axar Patel walked back to the pavilion with the scoreboard reading 31/4 in 6.1 overs. However, Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli decided to take the innings a bit deeper, assess the conditions, build a partnership and then try and go for the big hits as India ended the first 10 overs at 45/4.
It was in the subsequent 10 overs that the world witnessed magic. Kohli played one of the best innings of his career to take India to a memorable win on Diwali eve. With India needing 48 off 18 balls, few gave India a chance but Kohli along with Pandya never lost belief.
What followed was the pure class of the modern-day great Kohli as he hit Shaheen Afridi for 3 boundaries in the 18th over, then hit 2 sixes off the final 2 balls of the 19th over bowled by Haris Rauf under enormous scoreboard pressure and the fear of the match slipping away. He ultimately hit a six off Mohammad Nawaz in the final over as India went on to win the match by 4 wickets.
His straight shot off Rauf in the 5th ball of the 19th over was later described by ICC as "arguably the greatest single T20 shot of all time." And now an old video featuring PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja has resurfaced in which he says that Rauf has sheer pace and does not need variations. He adds that if Rauf gets his length right at that pace no one can hit him for a straight six.
As the world now knows, Kohli indeed hit Rauf for a straight six and helped India snatch a win from defeat. Raja stands corrected and so do all who had thought Kohli would not able to regain his form after struggling with poor form and not managing an international hundred for over 1000 days. Sport once again delivered a lesson to be remembered for ages.