No one but Kohli could've done that to our bowlers: Shadab Khan reopens old wounds before India vs Pakistan Asia Cup tie
Virat Kohli enjoys scoring goals against Pakistan. Kohli's average is 48.23 after 536 runs in 13 innings. In T20Is, it rises up a notch with 488 runs from 10 innings at an incredible average of 81.33.
Kohli's best innings have come against Pakistan, including a career-high 183 not out in the 2012 Asia Cup and the most epic of them all, an undefeated 82 at last year's T20 World Cup. Many magnificent knocks have characterised Kohli's career, but none have surpassed what he accomplished at the MCG in helping India claw victory from the jaws of defeat.
India were all over the place at 31/4, chasing 160 to win, when Kohli chose to play the innings of his life.
Shadab Khan revived the old wounds from that T20I as India and Pakistan meet for the first time since that historic Melbourne encounter at the Asia Cup 2023 on Saturday. India needed 28 runs off eight when Kohli's twin sixes of Haris Rauf blew the game open, and India won a last-ball thriller after a late-over drama.
For years, Kohli thought his 82-run innings against Australia in the World T20 quarterfinals in 2016 was the finest he'd ever played, but that night, a new competitor emerged. Such innings are as unusual as an Ajit Agarkar century at Lord's, but Shadab believes Kohli is capable of produce such knocks at will, recalling a game from last October.
"He is unquestionably a world-class player." To fight him, you must plan extensively. Anyway, there are a lot of mind games in international cricket, since you clearly have the ability to reach that level.
"How you read each other's minds, the bowler and the batter, how they read each other's minds, and it also depends on the situation," Shadab said on Star Sports' 'Follow the Blues'.
"The kind of batsman that Virat Kohli is, the way he has performed against us, even in the last World Cup match, I don't think any other batsman in the world could have done that to our bowling line-up." And the best part is that he can do it at any stage or time."
Shaheen Afridi's strategy for Indian hitters
The second Group A encounter of the Asia Cup will be a spectacle at Sri Lanka's Pallekele International Stadium in Kandy, made even more so by Kohli's return to the grand stage.
Pakistan will be conscious of the Kohli threat - he has four half-centuries in the previous five games against them - and will use their pace attack of Naseem Shah, Rauf, and Shaheen Afridi to eliminate the former India captain as soon as possible.
For years, this high-octane match has been billed as India's hitters vs Pakistan bowlers, and Shaheen, who has made a career out of grabbing wickets in the first over, believes getting through with the new ball will be crucial.
"In my opinion, my game plan is simple, and every opener is aware of it." The goal, as always, is to get the openers out in order to put pressure on the batting team.
When the middle order comes in, they are not as accustomed to playing against the new ball as the opener. So the middle order is under a lot of pressure to confront the new ball," he stated on the same show.