One of the most intense contests between the two bitter rivals occurred during the Super 12 game of the T20 World Cup 2022 between India and Pakistan. The game ended up being a nail-biting thriller that had the audience’s attention right up until the very last ball when India defeated Pakistan by four wickets off the final delivery after chasing down the 160-run goal. Both teams gave it their all in a see-saw struggle, and while India emerged victorious in the mental match, Pakistan gained a lot from the experience.
On his YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar was all love for the Pakistani team. The former Pakistani quick praised Pakistan’s heroes, including Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood, whose half-centuries stabilized the innings after they had cheaply lost openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, as well as their pacers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, who early on rocked India and reduced them to 31/4.
Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel, “Pakistan has done marvelously well. Don’t be down, you all played well. India did well… they won one of the best matches in history. It was a complete World Cup match. It had everything- dropped catch, run-out, no-ball, controversies, stumping. World Cup has just started, World Cup begins only when India-Pakistan plays, and the two teams will face off again. Pakistan will see India again, later in this World Cup.”
Virat Kohli, the evening’s headliner, received special plaudits from Akhtar for his brilliant 82 not out off 53 balls. Many people, including the Player of the Match, praised Kohli’s innings as his best T20 performance. And Akhtar called it the “biggest” performance of his life. Akhtar has always been outspoken about his support for the former India captain, even during his darkest moments.
He said about Kohli’s innings, “Mere khyal me zindagi ki sabse badi innings wo khel gaye. Wo isliye khel gaye kyunki unko yakin tha ki wo kar jayega ( He played the biggest innings of his life). He could play the knock because he had the self-belief and character).”
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The former Pakistani then offered an unusual perspective on Kohli’s T20I history regarding the great Indian hitter.
Akhtar said, “He is back with a bang. I want him to retire from T20I because I don’t want that he puts his entire energy into T20I cricket. With similar commitment like today, he can score three centuries in ODIs.”