Virat Kohli shines as India claim thrilling last-ball victory over Pakistan at the T20 World Cup

Virat Kohli's outstanding 82 not out off 53 balls steered India to a thrilling T20 World Cup victory over Pakistan in a frenzied conclusion that went down to the last ball at a sold-out MCG.

Pakistan's decision to hold back Mohammad Nawaz until the last over backfired as, with 13 required from three balls, the slow left-armer was adjudged to have bowled an above-waist-height no-ball which was heaved for six by Kohli.

Nawaz's nerve deserted him as he threw in a wide down the leg-side with two needed off the last ball, after which Ravichandran Ashwin coolly lifted over the in-field for a single as India overhauled Pakistan's 159 for eight with four wickets to spare.

On more than one occasion India looked sunk in the run-chase, but a 113-run union between Kohli and Hardik Pandya (40 off 37 balls) kept them afloat, with the pair growing in authority as the stand grew.

Kohli, who last month ended a two-and-a-half-year wait for an international century in any format, was particularly watchful after India had slipped to 31 for four, taking just 15 off his first 24 balls.

He seized the moment when it counted, not just off Nawaz but helping to get the target down to a manageable 16 off six with back-to-back sixes from the last two balls of the penultimate over, bowled by Haris Rauf, amid a cacophony of noise from a 90,293 crowd that ratcheted up in a dramatic finale.

Tickets to witness the latest instalment between these neighbouring rivals were snapped up in five minutes and the forecast rain failed to materialise as those in attendance were treated to a clash for the ages.

Pakistan have grown heavily reliant on openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam but they contributed just four runs in 13 balls between them.

Babar departed for a golden duck, plumb lbw to a hooping inswinger from Arshdeep Singh, who had both prolific Pakistan openers in his back pocket when Rizwan top-edged a hook to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

India kept a tight leash on Pakistan's scoring rate although Iftikhar Ahmed threatened to turn the tide by blasting three sixes in Axar Patel's only over to reach his fifty. Iftikhar was out for 51 off 34 balls in the next over as Mohammed Shami's fuller, seaming delivery thudded into his back leg.

Pandya took three cheap wickets while Arshdeep had his third when Asif Ali ducked into a bouncer and gloved behind although the left-arm seamer's figures took a dent as he was crashed for six then four in a cameo 16 off eight balls from Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Shan Masood ultimately anchored Pakistan's innings with an unbeaten 52 off 42 balls, which seemed priceless when KL Rahul chopped on to his stumps before Rauf located the outside edges of key pairing Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav.

Matters worsened for India as Axar Patel, promoted up the order, was sent back looking for a quick single and just short of his crease when the ball was fumbled into the stumps by wicketkeeper Rizwan.

In Kohli and Pandya they had two batters built for the big occasion but at the halfway stage they were on 45 for four. As the asking rate continued to climb, Nawaz's third over went for 20 runs, with two sixes for Pandya and one for Kohli.

Pakistan captain Babar turned to his seamers and they left India needing 48 from the last three overs. However, Kohli got on top of Shaheen with three fours in his final over then, with 28 needed off eight balls, flaying Rauf for successive sixes to set up a dramatic climax.

It was left to Nawaz and he initially seemed up to the task after Pandya sliced up in the air to cover but his no-ball turned the tide, as Babar remonstrated with the on-field umpires to no avail.

The initial free-hit was a wide so Nawaz had to send down another one, which bowled Kohli but India scampered three byes. There was a further twist as Dinesh Karthik was stumped but another wide allowed Ashwin to lift over mid-off as Kohli dropped to his knees in jubilation.

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