Pakistan have achieved a victory through the ages and crushed the fierce rival India by 10 wickets in the team’s preliminary Twenty20 World Cup group match.
- This was the first meeting between India and Pakistan since the 2019 World Cup, and the first time in a T20 since 2016
- Virat Kohli praised the ‘very professional’ Pakistani opening pair Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam
- Pakistan scored 18 out of the first two overs and crossed to victory with 10 wickets from there
Pakistan put India in battle and limited them to 7-151 in Dubai, Shaheen Afridi took three key points to 31. Only Virat Kohli (57) and Rishad Pant (39) had any influence with bats.
Their performances were dwarfed by Mohammad Rizwan (79 without 55 balls) and Babar Azam (68 without 52 balls), who crafted a beautifully constructed unbroken partnership of 152 to win the match by more than two overs to spare.
“We did not do the things we wanted, but credit where due, Pakistan outplayed us today. With the ball, they started brilliantly,” said Indian captain Kohli.
“It’s just the start of the tournament, not the end. It’s important to stay put together, understand our strengths and what we want to do in the middle.”
Geo-politics means that these teams rarely meet. This was the first T20 showdown since the last World Cup in 2016 and the first meeting in any format since the World Cup in the 50s over in England in 2019.
India won both these matches and had never before lost to Pakistan at a World Cup.
All this made Pakistan’s victory even sweeter.
When an almost full house watched, and hundreds of millions on television worldwide, Shaheen sensationally began dismissing Rohit Sharma for a duck with the first ball in his opening over and KL Rahul for three in his second.
But Suryakumar Yadav hit the final ball over there for six and Kohli slammed another six from his third over.
However, Yadav perished for 11, caught behind Hasan Ali, leaving India 3-31 in the sixth over, forcing Kohli and Pant to consolidate.
They did, ran well and took few risks to collect 35 from the next five overs.
Then Pant decided it was time to fire, whipping Hasan into two sixes and taking 15 of the 12th over.
But in the next he went skiing Shadab Khan and was caught for a 30-ball 39. Distribute Pakistan again.
Kohli, meanwhile, had been a regular garnishment running reaching a 45-ball half-century in the 18th over. In the ensuing inning, however, Shahine’s slower bouncer deceived Kohli and he was caught in 57.
In the end, India scrapped their path to 151. If that was enough, they needed to make early cuts, but as Kohli said, “they gave us no chances and were very professional”.
Pakistan cracked 18 from their first two overs and closed the six-over powerplay with 0-43. With Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan driving well and hitting sensibly, they had gone 0-71 at 10-over midfield.
Nothing India’s powerful bowling attack made an impact and the result was clear long before Pakistan’s skipper hit the winning shot.