The shots have become part of cricket folklore and helped India secure a thrilling victory against Pakistan at the MCG.
Speaking for the first time on a Pakistani website about those two hits, Raven said had Hardik Pandaya if Dinesh Karthik hit him like that, he would have felt “hurt”. Kohli’s unbeaten 83 off 52 balls, regarded as one of the best T20 innings, saw India beat arch rivals Pakistan by four wickets.
28 needed from the last eight balls, Kohli First, Rauf lifted the ground with an age-old back punch, then threw it behind the square to essentially end the game before it was over.
“That was his class and the kind of shots he plays, and the two sixes he hit, I don’t think any other player could hit those kind of shots. If Dinesh Karthik or Hardik Pandya had hit me like that, I’d be hurt, but that was Kohli, and that’s a different class,” Rauf told the Cricwick website in an interview.
✨ Watch @HarisRauf14 remember what went on in his head during the penultimate game against India at MCG |… https://t.co/7gvTLnvO5b
— CricWick (@CricWick) 1669811400000
Even a month after the match, Rauf can’t understand the first six Kohli hit the ground
“I had no idea he (Kohli) can knock me to the ground from such a length. So when he knocked that shot off me, that was his class. My plan and execution were fine, but that shot was absolutely class .”
Rauf’s plan was to give a left arm spinner Muhammad Nawz kissing at least 20 runs before the last over, but Kohli’s brilliance messed up his plans.
“Look, India needed 31 from the last 12 balls. I had only conceded three runs from four bowls. I knew Nawaz was bowling last time, he is a spinner and I had tried to get at least four big boundaries for him and leave at least more than 20 runs,” said Rauf.
“And since it took 28 of the last eight balls I bowled three slower and he was cheated. I had only bowled one of four fast balls. So the idea was to bowl a slower one on that back- of-a-length zone because the dimensions of the square border were larger.”
Exclusive interview with Haris Rauf | Cricket Trip | T20 World Cup Performance
Rauf said he has a good rapport with Kohli, having bowled for him at the Indian nets during the 2018-19 series, when the final test was held at the SCG.
“I played Grade 1 club cricket in Sydney and I had bowled for the Indian team. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ravi Shastri, they have always received me with great warmth. Ravi Shastri told me that even during the World Cup he was so happy to see my success and transition.
“Kohli was also very grateful. He told me that you bowled to our nets and now it’s good to see you doing well at the international level.”
(with input from PTI)