With 28 needed off eight balls, India had a tough task at hand, but Kohli hit two majestic strokes that will be part of cricket lore.
One was a straight-bat six over the bowler’s head and the next was a flick over fine-leg under extreme pressure.
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That brought down the equation to a very gettable 16 off the final over. India pulled off a famous win in the last ball of the game.
Hardik, who was watching Kohli’s mastery from the other end, looked backed at those special sixes. “I’ve hit a lot of sixes but those are special, special, and really special in my heart now because of what (it) meant for both of us. I’ve played cricket, so much cricket, but I don’t think anyone could’ve played those two shots except Kohli,” Hardik told the BCCI website.
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“The best part about what I loved about him (doing that) is we struggled, bro. Why it was so special was we struggled together. This would’ve been not this special if we had just cruised through.
“You would’ve played exceptional shots, I would’ve been (in the flow)… This was special.”
The star all-rounder also played a crucial role with bat and ball to bring back India from the dead.
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Hardik spoke about his mindset when he walked into the middle. “I sensed a lot of pressure in the group. With all due respect, a lot of people in big games (feel pressure) and (know) how important it is.
“We all have worked very hard as a collective, and people are happy for each other.
“But for me, I don’t know, I was very numb today. Even when I came on the ground, I was very happy and I was speaking to Rahul (Dravid) sir as well initially, I wouldn’t say he was tense but he told me: ‘you’ve done a lot of things’, and ‘be calm’ and all that.
“I had to tell him: ‘sir, please understand I’m happy to be here. Ten months back, I was working in my space and I had no idea and this is where I wanted to be, irrelevant of what happens. Just happy to be here, playing with all the best cricketers in the world, and they are my brothers.”
Hardik got emotional while describing the match-winning 113-run partnership with Kohli, which came off just 78 balls. The duo came together when India were struggling at 31 for four, still needing 129 from 83 balls against a high quality bowling attack.
“When I was coming inside (to bat), I would’ve taken a bullet for you (Kohli) at that point of time, I wouldn’t have let you get out at that point of time. “My goal was simple: whatever I can to make your life easy, because you’ve done this over the years in crucial games. No one is better than handling pressure than you.”
(With BCCI/PTI inputs)