Pakistan won a thrilling contest against India by 5 wickets in Bangalore, Shoaib Malik’s last over six off Ravindra Jadeja sealed them their first win over India in T20’s.
Earlier Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez won the toss and asked MS Dhoni and company to bat first, interestingly Dhoni too thought of fielding first but it went the other way. Openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane gave India the start they needed. Gambhir was edgy and struggled a bit in the initial overs especially that of Mohammad Irfan – the tallest fast bowler who made his T20 debut in this match. On the other side Rahane was strong and played some wonderful shorts, looked in good touch with supreme timing of the ball. Both Gambhir and Rahane added 77 runs for the first wicket. Then the Game took a U-Turn from India and Pakistan came right back into the game.
Pakistan’s all-rounder Shahid Afridi took the first wicket in the 11th over and created the big breakthrough when Rahane was out for a well made 42. Gambhir who looked settled followed Rahane in the very next over of Afridi after he was run out for 43. From there on the Pakistan bowlers picked up quick wickets in no time and restricted the strong Indian batting order from 77-0 to 133-9, India lost the last 7 wickets for just 30 odd runs. Umar Gul was the pick of the bowlers grabbing three wickets for 21 runs. Saeed Ajmal too bowled very well and picked up two important wickets that of Dhoni and Raina after conceding 13 runs in his first over.
Pakistan with 134 to chase had a terrible start, another debutant of this match Bhuvneshwar Kumar would not have asked for a start to his T20 career like this, he striked in his very first over and picked up his first wicket in international cricket after Nasir Jamshed was out clean bowled. He swung the ball really well and double striked in his very next over picking Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. At 12-3 one would’ve thought that Pakistan are almost out of the game, But captain Mohammad Hafeez along with former captain Shoaib Malik mastered the innings and played calmly and steadily developed a match winning partnership. Both added 106 runs for the 4th wicket the highest for Pakistan for that wicket. Then came Ishanth Sharma who bowled an exceptional 18th over by picking up Mohammad Hafeez who played a captain’s innings of 61 runs and almost picked Shoaib Malik too in the same over, But no-ball for height saved Shoaib Malik, it turned the match for India indeed! With 10 required off the last 6 balls, MS Dhoni handed the ball to Ravindra Jadeja but the gamble didn’t work out as Shoaib Malik sealed the game for Pakistan with a huge six. Pakistan won the match by 5 wickets in 19.4 overs. Shoaib Malik was unbeaten on 57 at the end along with Shahid Afridi who scored 3. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez was adjudged as the Man of the Match for this classic innings.
For India, Bhuvnesh Kumar was definitely the pick of the bowlers who now joins the list of most economical bowling by a debutant (3/9) along with Zimbabwe’s Ray Price (2/9) and West Indian spinner Garey Mathurin (3/9). MS Dhoni should’ve definitely gone on with R. Ashwin as the Indians were well short of a bowler after the part timers Yuvraj, Virat & Jadeja all Failed. As promised this Indo-Pak match had all the excitements, thrills, twists and turns, in it. With this win, Pakistan leads this T20 Series 1-0. The next T20 match will be played at Ahmedabad on 28th December.