Whether it be Virat Kohli’s match-defining 82 runs in India’s win against Pakistan in front of more than 90,000 fans – or Zimbabwe’s last ball victory over the Shaheens at Optus Stadium in Perth – this year’s T20 World Cup hasn’t been short on thrilling finishes.
With that in mind, read on as we dissect the five best games that have taken place at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia to date.
India vs Pakistan
In what is one of the most passion-filled rivalries in all of sport, it is a spectacle every time subcontinent neighbours India and Pakistan go head-to-head. Their match-up at the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) last month lived up to the billing, with both teams treating fans to one of the best games in T20 history. After failing to win the toss and being sent in to bat, Pakistan couldn’t have started their innings any worse – losing their opening batsmen Mohammed Razwan and Babar Azam for four runs and a golden duck respectively.
The remainder of their top order steadied the ship, with Shan Masood and Ifitkhar Ahmed both registering half centuries. The middle order and tail-enders failed to capitalise on Masood’s and Ahmed’s efforts however, capitulating down the stretch to set India a very manageable total of 160 to win.
The Pakistani’s put any disappointment from their performance with the willow aside and came out firing with the ball, dismissing Indian openers RL Rahul and Rohit Sharma for four runs apiece. With Suryakumar Yadav and Axar Patel falling cheaply not long thereafter, it appeared as though the Shaheens were going to come away with the chocolates.
Enter Virat Kohli. The superstar Indian batsman showed exactly why he’s one of the greatest players of the modern generation, scoring a flawless 82 not out to steer his side to an unlikely four wicket victory with just one ball remaining. Needing 28 runs from just eight deliveries, Kohli helped secure the win with three timely sixes.
Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
Unfortunately for the Shaheens, they have been on the wrong end of the two best matches at this year’s T20 World Cup. After the disappointment of their loss to bitter foes India, Pakistan was looking to bounce back against minnow nation Zimbabwe. Entering the match-up as the prohibitive favourites when looking at the cricket betting online, Pakistan appeared as though they would come away with a comfortable win over their African opposition, bowling them out for just 130 runs. Mohammed Wazim starred with the ball, taking 4/24 off four overs.
With their backs against the wall and a win improbable, Zimbabwe showed enormous grit and determination to get themselves back in the contest. It was a combined bowling effort from Craig Ervine’s side, with Sikandar Raza, Brad Evans, Blessing Muzarabani and Luke Jongwe among the wicket-takers.
In yet another nail-biter decided on the final ball, Pakistan needed three runs to win and two to secure a draw. Shaheen Afridi was on strike, driving the ball to mid-off and immediately taking off to run between the wickets. As Afridi ran back for a second, Zimbabwe’s fielder threw to the wicketkeeper at the opposite end who ran the Pakistan tailender out to ensure the underdogs won by a single run.
Scotland vs Ireland
After falling to 61/4 at the halfway mark of their innings, Ireland’s chances of surpassing Scotland’s formidable total of 176/5 looked nigh on impossible. That was until Curtis Campher’s and George Dockrell’s partnership – with the pair piling on 119 runs from just 57 deliveries to help Ireland snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat with seven balls remaining.
Ireland took the confidence they gained from their come from behind win over the Scots and secured another unlikely win over pre-tournament contenders England just a week later – proving they could be a dark horse as the tournament reaches the latter stages.