West Indies' Chris Gayle (R) plays a shot during the ICC World Twenty20 match against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. (AFP Photo)
A solid batting performance and a disciplined show in the bowling department saw India maintain their unbeaten run in World Cup ties against Pakistan.
In their first match of the ICC World T20 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Friday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys defeated the arch-rivals by seven wickets with nine balls to spare.
After the bowlers restricted Pakistan to 130/7, two big partnerships — one between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, and the other between Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina — helped India sail to victory.
Read: World T20: Virat Kohli, Amit Mishra share glory as India win
Openers Rohit Sharma (24) and Shikhar Dhawan (30) started slow and could not find the boundary in the first three overs.
Then Rohit cut loose, sending Junaid Khan for a six and a four in the fourth over that cost 12 runs.
In the next over, Dhawan gave Saeed Ajmal a warm welcome, hitting him for three boundaries in a row. The carnage continued, as the partnership reached 54.
Veteran campaigner Umar Gul finally got the breakthrough. Dhawan misjudged a shorter delivery and couldn't get under it properly, giving a simple catch to Saeed Ajmal at fine leg.
Next, Ajmal proved why he is one of Pakistan's most potent weapons. He castled a dangerous-looking Rohit in the tenth over. Rohit was looking to cut Ajmal, but the turn was more than he had anticipated.
Bilawal Bhatti started his spell with a stunner of a delivery in the next over. A full and tight delivery that landed around the middle stump and swerved just a bit beat Yuvraj Singh completely and hit his off stump. Yuvraj's bad form continued as he left for one.
With India on the edge of a collapse, Virat Kohli (36*) and Suresh Raina (35*) came to the crease. The two played fearless cricket. They danced down the pitch to send the spinners out of the boundary and picked up quick singles.
Pakistan skipper Mohammed Hafeez tried everything, but couldn't separate the two, their stand remaining unbeaten at 66.
Suresh Raina's return to form is a good sign for India. Yuvraj, however, still looked shaky. Neither his fielding nor his batting performances were anything to write home about.
In the earlier session, an impressive show put up by Indian bowlers topped with man of the match Amit Mishra's 2/22 helped the Men in Blue restrict Pakistan to 130 for eight.
Opener Kamran Akmal (8) started aggressively, hitting a four each off R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar before he ran himself out in the second over. There was no communication what so ever between him and partner Ahmed Shehzad (22).
Shehzad was then joined by skipper Hafeez (15). The two put up 35 runs for the second wicket.
Ravindra Jadeja broke the partnership in his first over of the match. Hafeez was done in by the extra bounce on the track and skied it. Bhuvneshwar took a sharp catch at deep cover.
Next over, Mishra struck. Shehzad tried to give him the charge, but missed the line. Dhoni claimed an easy stumping.
With the team in a spot, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik steadied the boat. The fourth-wicket partnership of 50 runs between Akmal (33) and Malik (18) got the team to 100/4 in 16 overs. The two went for the big shots, but what hurt India the most were the short runs the two plundered.
There was a chance to break the partnership in the fifteenth over, Ashwin's last. Malik had skied it towards mid-wicket, but Bhuvneshwar couldn't reach there in time.
Mishra finally came good for India in the sixteenth over. Malik tried to hit him for a six, but ended up holeing out to Raina at long-off.
In the eighteenth over, Mohammed Shami prevented a late comeback by removing Akmal, whose leading edge went to the safe hands of Raina at long-off.
Hopes of fireworks from Shahid Afridi were also dashed as the flamboyant all-rounder fell to Bhuvneshwar for 8, with Raina lapping up his third catch of the day.
Some lusty hitting from Sohaib Maqsood got Pakistan to a respectable total.
Commentary, India Innings:
Commentary, Pakistan Innings: