Drama at the death – a ball-by-ball account of a cracking finish at the MCG

It was 31 from 12, and then 16 from six, and then there were wickets, wides, no-balls, sixes, arguments… pretty much e

It swung wildly, one way now, the other way a moment later. Till it came down to 31 from 12. Haris Rauf. Just three from his first four balls. That made it 28 from eight. Advantage Pakistan. Hold on, said Virat Kohli. Bang, and bang, and it was 16 from six, to be bowled by Mohammad Nawaz, the weak link in the Pakistan attack on the day… and drama! Here’s how Karthik Krishnaswamy recorded the unbelievable last two overs of India vs Pakistan at the MCG on ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball commentary.

18.1: Haris Rauf to Hardik, 1 run
Length ball angling into the corridor, sits deep in his crease and flat-bats it along the ground to deep midwicket

18.2: Haris Rauf to Kohli, 1 run
Length ball outside off, slapped on the bounce to deep cover point

18.3: Haris Rauf to Hardik, no run
Extra bounce. Short outside off, and the ball beats Hardik’s attempted uppercut

18.4: Haris Rauf to Hardik, 1 run
Hard length., angling into the body. Can’t pull that, just manages to send it dribbling towards long-on off the sticker of the bat

18.5: Haris Rauf to Kohli, SIX runs
Okay, wow. Has Kohli ever played a better shot in T20 cricket? Length ball, finishing around bail-high, and Kohli punches it with an almost straight bat, straight back over the bowler’s head. Swivels through the hip a little as he does so, a la Jos Buttler, and it easily carries over the rope

18.6: Haris Rauf to Kohli, SIX runs
Fullish, angling into leg stump, and Kohli has caused the MCG to explode into pure noise. A flick of the wrists, and the ball sails over the boundary to the left of fine leg. Wow!

Fifteen off that over. Twelve off those last two balls. And it comes down to 16 off this final over, with Mohammad Nawaz to bowl. What an incredible game this has been. What an innings Virat Kohli has played.

Mohammad Rizwan is standing back to the spinner! Deep extra-cover, long-off, long-on, cow corner, deep square leg are back.

19.1: Nawaz to Hardik, OUT
Got him, what a strike for Pakistan! Flat, speared into the pads, and Hardik loses his shape completely as he tries to slog this over the leg side. Edges it, and the ball balloons to the fielder at cover point

Hardik Pandya c Babar Azam b Mohammad Nawaz 40 (37b 1×4 2×6) SR: 108.1

And with the new T20I rules in place, it’ll be Dinesh Karthik on strike and not Kohli, even though the batters crossed over. DK isn’t the greatest of starters against spin, usually…

19.2: Nawaz to Karthik, 1 run
Down the track, and he gets a full-toss that’s chest-high when he meets it. Would it have been as high if he was standing in his normal position? Probably not. Swatted down to long-on

Kohli on strike. Fifteen to win off four balls. Fourteen to tie. Nawaz is basically bowling left-arm medium.

19.3: Nawaz to Kohli, 2 runs
They need a boundary every ball, almost, but they only get two here. Very full, almost a wide yorker, and Kohli drags it down to long-on, all along the ground

19.4: Nawaz to Kohli, (no ball) SIX runs
Full-toss, full-toss, and it’s gone for six!!!! It’s only just gone for six, but it’s gone for six nonetheless! On off stump, and it’s a fairly high full-toss too – it’s been called no-ball!!! – and Kohli swats it away over the leg side. Deep square leg leaps to his right, gets a hand to the ball to try and flap it back into play, but it still lands beyond the rope

Babar’s having a heated discussion with the umpires. Was that above waist height? Tight call, I would think.

Suddenly, India need 6 off 3. Such a massive difference from 13 off 3.

19.4: Nawaz to Kohli, 1 wide
Now he bowls a wide! All the pressure is on the poor bowler, and he looks to keep it away from Kohli’s reach, but ends up spearing his wide yorker beyond the off-side tramline

19.4: Nawaz to Kohli, 3 byes
Bowled him, but it’s a free hit! And they run three by the time the throw comes in from the third man region!!! Full, angling into off stump, and Kohli misses his attempted sweep. But he knows it’s a free-hit, and he sets off at full pace, as does DK. The ball rolls between the keeper and short third, and they pick up three byes

Phew. It’s down to two off two now, with DK on strike. Absolutely incredible scenes at the G. Do Pakistan bring their fielders in to crowd the ring? Nope, just four inside the circle. Keeper comes back up to the stumps.

19.5: Nawaz to Karthik, OUT
Got him, a stumping off the pads!!! Goes flat, angling down leg, following DK’s movement to make room. Looks to sweep, and the ball dribbles off the pad behind the wicket. And Rizwan is alert to the fact that DK has stumbled out of his crease. What a moment. Rizwan is well down the leg side when he collects the ball, and he falls to his right to complete the stumping

Dinesh Karthik st †Mohammad Rizwan b Mohammad Nawaz 1 (2b 0x4 0x6) SR: 50

Whodathunkit. R Ashwin to face the last ball, with two runs needed. One to tie. Still just four inside the circle.

19.6: Nawaz to Ashwin, 1 wide
And Nawaz bowls a wide!!!! Expects Ashwin to try and make room, maybe, and sends a flat, quick one well down the leg side. Ashwin just watches it pass him, and the MCG explodes once more!

Seven fielders in the circle now.

19.6: Nawaz to Ashwin, 1 run
And Ashwin clears one of those infielders!!! What a cool, collected, and elegant finish!!! Full, angling into the stumps, and Ashwin makes a little bit of room and scoops the ball over mid-off. What a finish! What a freaking game!!!

Virat Kohli. A few weeks ago, there were people (myself included) asking if he should still be part of India’s T20I line-up. There’s a reason I’m not a coach or a selector. Let’s go back to the seventh over of this innings. India were 31 for 4, and going absolutely nowhere. What followed was a partnership for the ages between Kohli and Hardik Pandya, and when it came down to the finish, when it came down to 28 to win off eight balls, it was Kohli who found the route to the boundary. Two back-to-back sixes off the excellent Haris Rauf, and that put all the pressure on Mohammad Nawaz, whose last over had been held back.