Pakistan win T20 thriller

Pakistan held their nerve to clinch a 5-wicket win with two deliveries

to spare over India as they resume their bilateral cricket rivalry

after five years with the first of two Twenty20 matches on Tuesday.

India failed to capitalise on a good start, losing nine wickets for 56

runs to end up with a total of 133/9 at the Chinnaswamy stadium in


In reply, Pakistan fought back after a stunning spell by Bhuvneshwar

Kumar on debut to take the lead in the two match series. Mohammad

Hafeez (61 off 44) and Shoaib Malik (57 not out off 50) were the stars

for the visitors.

Indian openers Gautam Gambhir (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (42) started off

slowly but they took India to 75 for no loss at the end of the 10th


Pakistan, hoping to make some inroads, introduced Saeed Ajmal and

Shahid Afridi, but no damage was done while the spinners ended up

conceding quite a few runs.

The partnership finally came to an end when Rahane, coming down the

track to Afridi, holed out to Umar Akmal at long-off. Soon, Gambhir

departed on 43, run-out at the striker’s end after attempting a quick

second. This got the pair of Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli to the

crease, both in good form.

The former started off with a huge six over deep mid wicket off Afridi

off the first ball he faced while the latter swept Hafeez to the

square leg boundary to take India past the 100-run mark in the 14th

over. Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan then was brought back to bowl his

final over and he responded by dismissing Kohli for 9.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not last long, falling to

Ajmal on 1 in the 16th over. India were left five down for 117 in the

next over when Yuvraj Singh, trying to land Gul over the mid-wicket

boundary, found Umar Akmal and departed on 10.

More disappointment was in store for the India as Suresh Raina (10)

and Rohit Sharma (2) departed in quick succession. Raina (10) tried to

pull Ajmal but the ball hurried on and the left-hander ended up

missing it to see the ball crash on to the stumps.

In the same over, Ravindra Jadeja called Sharma for a quick two but

there was no second in it and a direct hit from Malik found Rohit way

short of the crease at the non-striker’s end. Gul then dismissed

Jadeja and Ishant Sharma off back to back deliveries in the 19th over.

Ashok Dinda and Bhuvneshwar Kumar managed 7 runs off the final over,

which was bowled by Sohail Tanvir as India ended up with a total of

133 for 9.

With not too much to defend, India needed early wickets to put

pressure on the Pakistanis. An unlikely hero emerged in Bhuvneshwar

Kumar, who bowled a terrific opening spell to leave the visitors in

early trouble. The seamer finished with excellent figures of 3/9.

His first breakthrough came in the opening over when he produced five

away-going deliveries to the left-handed Nasir Jamshed before bringing

the last one back in to hit the stumps. While Ashok Dinda went for a

couple of boundaries in the second over, Bhuvneshwar prevented

Pakistan from gaining any kind of momentum.

The Orissa pacer lured Ahmed Shezad into the drive and the batsman

ended up nicking it to Dhoni while he produced a brilliant delivery to

Umar Akmal, beating the batsman’s defence to hit the top of middle

stump. At the end of the 6th over, Pakistan were struggling at 22 for


Pakistan needed a partnership to force their way back into the game.

Skipper Hafeez led by example and received good support from Malik as

they built a good partnership to get the visitors back on track.

Dhoni decided to introduce Kohli into the attack and the move did not

quite work for the hosts as the part-time bowler gave away three

boundaries – one by Malik and two by Hafeez – in the 21 runs conceded

by him in 2 overs.

Luck also favoured Hafeez a couple of times – the umpire ruled him not

out despite the batsman getting a glove to the keeper off Jadeja’s

bowling, while Raina could not hold to a tough chance off Yuvraj’s


Hafeez made use of the reprieves as he went on to bring up his fifty

in style by coming down the track and hitting Jadeja straight back for

a maximum in the 15th over.

The skipper then carved Ishant Sharma for a couple of boundaries in

the next over to power Pakistan past the 100-run mark and put the

visitors in command. Malik, who had earlier scored a six off Jadeja,

brought up the 100-run stand in the 17th over with a couple off Dinda.

Pakistan were running away with the game and only quick wickets could

have given India some semblance of chance. There was a ray of hope for

India after Ishant bowled a fine 18th over in which he gave away just

2 runs while picking up the wicket of Hafeez.

His fine knock came to an end when he upper cut straight to

Bhuvneshwar at third man. Ishant could have had another wicket but was

denied that – Malik, like Hafeez, produced an upper-cut and Jadeja

picked up a splendid catch but the decision was referred to the third

umpire and ruled it a no-ball for height.

A disgruntled Ishant even had a couple of words to say to Kamran Akmal.

Pakistan needed 14 off 2 overs and while Malik brought up his fifty in

the penultimate over, which was bowled by Dinda, only four runs came

off that over at the expense of Kamran Akmal’s wicket.

Jadeja was given the final over with Pakistan needing 10 for victory.

While four runs came off the first three balls, Malik smashed the

fourth one in front of the sight-screen for six to help the visitors

register their first T20I victory against India.

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