Shaheen Afridi gets Rohit, Rahul and Virat Kohli out in his 4-0-31-3 spell, Pakistan win by 10 wickets.
Pakistan 152 for no loss in 17.5 overs (Rizwan 79*, Azam 68*) beat India 151 for 7 in 20 overs (Kohli 57, Pant 39; Afridi 3/31) by 10 wickets
The highly-anticipated encounter between arch-rivals India and Pakistan after a long wait of over five years as far as ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup goes finally took centrestage on Sunday. Both the teams clashed in a rip-roaring match, which saw some of the most power-packed performances in T20I cricket.
The stars were well-aligned for the 2009 title-holders of the competition who gained an early advantage in the match as they put India in to bat first on a turf that has been their second home for the past decade.
Stats speak for their decision as chasing teams won 9 out of the 13 games played at the Dubai International Cricket Ground as recorded in the freshly-concluded IPL 2021.
Pakistan wins toss, opts to bowl first
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, playing his first ICC T20 World Cup tournament as captain, won the toss and chose to bowl first. Dubai International Cricket Stadium has long been the lounge of the Pakistan team since over a decade. Besides, the pitch at the venue has mostly favoured the chasing teams.
Shaheen Shah Afridi jolts India right at the start
The inaugural season title winners didn’t have it so straightforward following an upsetting start to their innings. India first lost Rohit Sharma for a golden duck in just the fourth ball of the innings as Shaheen Shah Afridi struck for Pakistan early on in the game. Rohit Sharma’s poor record against Pakistan in the T20Is continued to haunt him today.
India lost another wicket in a span of just the next two overs with the in-form KL Rahul clean bowled for just three runs by the nemesis of Shaheen Afridi. Afridi’s record against the openers in T20Is remained unabated after sending both the Indian openers within three overs.
India were clearly struggling at 6/2 within three overs. With Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Virat Kohli on the crease, India needed a much-needed partnership and it looked like a possibility. Suryakumar hit Afridi for a six at backward square leg, then a boundary in the next over off Imad Wasim’s over.
Skipper Virat Kohli, already under tremendous pressure, also hit a six, this time advancing forward to clear Shaheen Afridi for a six at long on. Unfortunately, India lost its third wicket with Suryakumar Yadav playing a reckless shot only to get caught behind by Mohammad Rizwan for just 11 runs.
Rishabh Pant-Kohli build 50+ partnership in under 7 overs to lend ‘placebo effect’
India managed to accumulate only 36 runs for the loss of three wickets at the end of the powerplay. However, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli scored runs carefully, finding boundaries regularly and kept the innings afloat.
Pant even survived twice but later went on to play some audacious shots including two boundaries and as many sixes. The duo stitched a 53-run partnership under tremendous pressure. While Pant played his natural game, Kohli banked on conventional shots. Unfortunately, the duo couldn’t go big as Pant got out off Shadab Khan’s delivery in the 13th over. He departed for 39 runs off 30 deliveries but put India in a slightly better position in the game considering the horrendous start.
Virat Kohli completed his 29th half-century in T20 cricket from 45 balls; his innings consisted of a great exhibition of shots. However, he was dismissed by Shaheen Afridi shortly after completing his fifty. Afridi took his third wicket of the game with the India skipper’s wicket. India put a total of 151 runs at a loss of 7 wickets on the scoreboard in the allotted 20 overs.
Pakistan chases 152 with ease
Pakistani openers, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, got off to a solid start, hitting boundaries and sixes in virtually every over. They accumulated 43 runs for no loss in the powerplay, followed by a 50-run opening partnership in the coming overs. Both the openers barely looked in discomfort and went on to build a 100+ run partnership during the chase.
Babar Azam completed his 21st half century, playing a responsible captain’s knock, while Rizwan reached his 9th half century as Pakistan inched closer towards scripting history.
Their winless jinx against India in T20 World Cup finally came to an end as they sealed the game by 10 wickets. They finally were able to foil India’s spotless 12-0 World Cup record over Pakistan, out of which five of them were T20 victories. Pakistan was finally able to remove the single zero from their tally, scripting history in this edition’s World Cup.
Azam stitched a 152-run partnership Mohammad Rizwan, the highest partnership by Pakistan for any wicket against India in T20Is. Their previous highest partnership against India was 106 runs registered by Hafeez and Malik, for the fourth wicket at Ahmedabad, 2012. On Sunday, it was complete dominance that Pakistan displayed in the match in a quest to bag their first World Cup victory over India in 29 years.
It was also only the second victory for Pakistan against India in T20Is in nine matches. India have won 6 matches with one match ending in a tie, eventually being awarded to India in a bowl out.
Player of the Match
The game was first taken into grip by Shaheen Shah Afridi who paralysed India’s batting line-up through his fiery three-wicket haul. He rattled both the Indian openers, followed by the wicket of India’s skipper in his terrific spell.
India next play New Zealand at the same venue in the 28th match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 next Sunday. The game will kick off at 19:30 hours IST.
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