The T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan last year can be regarded one of the finest clashes ever played between the two rivals. Playing at the jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground, India were given a target of 160 in 20 overs and it was star batter Virat Kohli, who became the show-stopper and took India across the line with his unbeaten knock of 82 off 53 balls. With 16 needed off the last over, India lost two wickets in the form of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik. It was then Ravichandran Ashwin who came up and scored the winning run on the last ball of the match.
Recently, Ashwin opened-up about facing that last ball and revealed that he “cursed” wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik for putting him in such a difficult situation.
“I was cursing Dinesh Karthik for asking me to do the tougher job. As I was just cursing him and I walked in, I realized the enormity of what I was getting into – people yelling. I haven’t seen such a crowd ever. When I came to bat against Pakistan for the final ball in the World Cup, Virat Kohli gave me around 7 options to play that one ball,” Ashwin said in a video uploaded by ICC.
“The moment Nawaz bowled the wide, I knew, I won the contest, cricket in so many ways going to give lots of messages, that is where I bought the positivity back and won the game. I think about this game when I go to sleep or watch the video, what if the ball had gripped & hit my pad, it was pretty close, maybe it was meant to be finished by me (smiles) but a terrific innings by Virat,” he added.
India needed 16 off the last over and Mohammad Nawaz dismissed all-rounder Hardik Pandya on the very first delivery. Later, Dinesh Karthik took a single on the next ball and brought Kohli to the strike, who then, scored 13 runs in next four deliveries and the equation was reduced to two off two. However, Karthik got stumped on the fifth ball and Ashwin came on the strike and finished the match with a single, after Nawaz bowled a costly wide.
The schedule for the ODI World Cup 2023 has been announced and the Rohit Sharma-led side will be opening their campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai. The arch-rivals India and Pakistan will be squaring off against each other on October 15 in Ahmedabad.
Currently, Team India is gearing up for the upcoming tour of West Indies, where both the teams will be facing each other in a two-match Test series, three ODIs, and five T20Is.