A brilliant innings from Virat Kohli helped India cruise past Pakistan to keep their hopes of a place in the t20 World Cup semi finals alive thanks to a eight wicket victory at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Kohli scored 78 runs from 61 balls which included nine boundaries and two sixes to help India chase down Pakistans total of just 128 to secure victory in a must win game for the 2007 champions.
Having watched on as Australia beat South Africa earlier in the day, MS Dhoni’s side knew only a victory would be good enough to keep them in contentention in Group 2 of the Super Eights.
Despite the early loss of Gautam Gambhir (0), Kohli and Virender Sehwag (29) shared a second wicket stand of 75 to put India on course for victory even after the loss of Sehwag in the 11th over.
It proved to be the perfect day for India after the restricted Pakistan to a total of just 128. With the exception of Shoaib Malik (28) and Umar Akmal (21) who shared a 6th wicket stand of 47 Pakistan’s batsman were blown away by an inspired India team which steamrollered through Pakistan.
The spinners were at the forefront with Yuvraj Singh (2-16), Ravichandran Ashwin (2-16) and Virat Kohli (1-21) all picking up wickets in a match India have to win in order to stay in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals.
Having won the toss Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez decided to bat first but it was a decision which proved to be poorly made as the 2009 champions slumped to just 59-5 inside 10 overs.
With wickets falling around him Hafeez battled alone with a resistant 28 ball 15 but when he played on to a delivery from Virat Kohli the Pakistan skipper knew his side faced an uphill task of recording any type of competitive total.
Yuvraj Singh led the onslaught picking up the wickets of Nasir Jamshed (4) and Kamran Akmal (5) as Pakistan capitulated as India took control of the match despite cameos from Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal.