Pakistan Beat India As Mohammad Hafeez Steers Team Home

Pakistan Beat India As Mohammad Hafeez Steers Team Home
©Action Images

Pakistan 134-5 (Hafeez 61) beat
India 133-9 (Gul 3-21) by 5 wickets
First Twenty20 International, Bangalore
Report by Chetan Narula 

In a humdinger of a match, Pakistan beat India by five wickets in the first Twenty20 International at Bangalore. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik steered their side home, after the match see-sawed more than once at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first, something Indian skipper MS Dhoni said he would have done as well. For the visitors though, the decision didn’t pay any dividends. Indian openers Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir put on a fantastic partnership for the first wicket that fetched them 77 runs. Gambhir scored 43 runs off 41 balls, with two fours and one six as Rahane was busy making 42 runs off 31 balls at the other end. He hit five fours and one six as the runs came in only 10.5 overs. Thereafter, Pakistan fought back like only they can as the hosts collapsed, losing nine wickets for just 47 runs.

Rahane was the first to go, caught off Shahid Afridi as he repeatedly tried to hit the ball inside-out over the mid-wicket boundary. Gambhir then was run-out as has become the norm with him recently. It brought together Yuvraj Singh (10) and Virat Kohli (9) to the crease, with the former starting with a massive six off Afridi. Debutant Mohammad Irfan though got Kohli to edge a sharply rising delivery and then Dhoni (1) was out bowled softly by Saeed Ajmal, as the ball just kissed his stumps.

India were now at 108 for four and it became 115 for five as Yuvraj was caught in the deep, off Umar Gul. Seven runs later, Suresh Raina (10) was bowled by Ajmal and the score was 122 for six. Heaping further misery was Rohit Sharma (2) as he was run-out a run later, and then Umar Gul removed Ravindra Jadeja (2) and Ishant Sharma (0) off successive balls to leave India at 124 for nine. They eventually finished with 133 runs on the board, by no means a competitive total.

But this is an arch rivalry and things seldom go off smoothly. Pakistan found that out soon enough as India’s own debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar got into the act, reducing them to 12 for three in his first two overs in international cricket. Nasir Jamshed (2) was bowled, Ahmed Shehzad (5) edged one behind and the best dismissal was of Umar Akmal (0), bowled off a sharply in-swinging delivery. He finished with figures of three for nine in four overs.

This brought together skipper Mohammad Hafeez and Malik together and the duo were watchful early on, but soon settled down to score quickly. They punished India’s part-time bowlers Kohli and Yuvraj, putting up 106 runs for the fourth wicket. Hafeez scored 61 runs off 44 balls, with six fours and two sixes. Malik was unbeaten on 57, with three fours and three sixes for which he also the man-of-the-match, steering Pakistan to a win. When Hafeez was finally out in the eighteenth over, they needed only 16 runs to win. Despite the loss of Kamran Akmal (1), they romped home easily, with two balls to spare.  

© Cricket World 2012


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