The record still holds good. When it’s a World Cup match, irrespective of what format it’s played in and in which part of the world it is played in, India have not lost to Pakistan. On Friday, at the Sher-e Bangla National stadium here, India completed a seven-wicket win over their archrivals with nine balls to spare and got their
World T20 campaign
off to a flying start.
This was India’s first win against a top Test playing nation in more than three months. India did beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan during the Asia Cup earlier this month and won a friendly game against England here on Wednesday. However, before that, their win against West Indies and Australia at home came last November.
For skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it was a good toss to win even though the dew was not as intense as the groundsmen had predicted on Thursday, partially because a strong breeze and chances of rain over the next three days had minimised the precipitation. Put into bat first, it seemed Pakistan did not quite know what could be a safe target in these conditions.
Read: How the match unfolded
The pitch offered a lot of turn right from the start and both teams handed the new ball to spinners, R Ashwin for India and skipper Mohammad Hafeez for Pakistan. The ball stopped and came on to the bat and the wicket offered spongy bounce. The Pakistan batsmen looked too much in a hurry to score and a complete howler trying to steal a single resulted in opener Kamran Akmal’s dismissal. Ahmed Shahzad would have to take the blame for it having called first and then sent his partner back. That misunderstanding was proof of the panic in the Pakistan camp. And though the skipper coming in at No 3 tried to calm the nerves, it wasn’t enough in the end.
Chasing a target of 131 on this wicket is not difficult, provided batsmen were willing to be patient. What a day India’s recently criticised opening pair chose to get its act together! Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan waited for the loose ball and pounced on every opportunity. Unfortunately for Pakistan, their bowlers, including the dangerous Saeed Ajmal, who was introduced in the fifth over, gave away enough boundary balls in between brilliant ones to take the pressure off batsmen.
Shikhar once again fell to a short ball trying to hook and Rohit chopped one on to the stumps. Yuvraj was the only one who disappointed, first dropping Hafeez at mid-wicket when the Pakistan skipper was on five and then leaving a gaping hole between bat and pad to lose his off-stump to paceman Bilawal Bhatti.
Suresh Raina, who showed glimpses of a return to form against England, and Virat Kohli saw India through. India play West Indies on Sunday evening at the same venue and Dhoni would want to cash in as much as possible on the momentum of back-to-back wins, even though one was a practice match.