Mohammad Rizwan (79 not out off 55 balls) and Babar Azam (68 not out off 52 balls) displayed wonderful batsmanship to help Pakistan crush India by ten wickets in a Group 2 match of Super 12 of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday. The win, set up by Shaheen Shah Afridis opening burst, also meant that Pakistan broke their hoodoo against India in mens T20 World Cups.
Electing to bowl first, Pakistan restricted India to 151/7 in 20 overs with Afridi rattling the 2007 champions with a two-wicket burst. Skipper Virat Kohli struck a fighting fifty but India never recovered from the early setback and could not manage a big score. Their bowling was even more pedestrian as Pakistan chased down the score in 17.5 overs to seal and memorable victory.
It was a night where nothing went wrong for Pakistan. Chasing 151, Pakistan got off to an impressive start with 43 runs for no loss in power-play. Rizwan began by carting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for back-to-back boundaries in the opening over. In the next over, Azam started off with a glorious back-foot drive off Mohammed Shami. Shami came under attack in the fifth over as Azam and Rizwan took a four each.
India did tighten the screws by not conceding boundaries in the sixth, seventh and eighth overs. But Azam broke the boundary-less spell with a pull over cow corner off Ravindra Jadeja in the ninth over. From there onwards, Azam and Rizwan played risk-free cricket by rotating the strike and punishing the bad balls by dispatching them to the boundary rope.
It was one-way traffic as India had zero answers to the clinical batting from 'akistan's openers, especially with dew coming into the picture. Azam reached his half-century with a gigantic six over deep mid-wicket off Varun Chakravarthy in the 13th over. Two overs later, Rizwan too reached the fifty-mark with a pull through cow corner off Jasprit Bumrah in the 15th over.
Rizwan began the 18th over by hammering Shami for a six over fine leg followed by back-to-back fours through the leg-side. Azam finished off the chase with a brace, sealing the win with 13 balls to spare.
Earlier, India lost openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the first 13 balls of the innings to Shaheen Shah Afridi. While Sharma was trapped plumb in front of the wicket by a yorker, Rahul was undone by a fast inswinger going through the gate to hit the stumps. Suryakumar Yadav hit a six off Afridi and swept Imad Wasim for four. But his promising stay at the crease ended when he was snapped by keeper Mohammad Rizwan diving to his right to catch the poke off Hasan Ali in the final over of power-play.
Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant led the rebuilding job for India with a stand of 53 off 40 balls for the fourth wicket. Pant was the more aggressive of the two, cutting and swiping off the spinners Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez followed by carting Ali for back-to-back one-handed sixes over square leg and long-off. But in the 13th over, Pant top-edged a slog, which was caught by Khan off his own bowling.
After Pant fell, Kohli stepped up and took four boundaries off Haris Rauf and Ali en route his half-century. Ravindra Jadeja swatted Ali over fine leg. But on the next ball, Jadeja was foxed by a slower delivery, holing out to deep mid-wicket. Afridi returned for his final over to take out Kohli with a slower bouncer, top-edging behind. Rauf took out Pandya in the final over, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami ensured that India crossed the 150-'ark, which wasn't sufficient to maintain their clean slate against Pakistan.
Brief scores: India 151/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39, Shaheen Afridi 3/31, Hasan Ali 2/44) lost to Pakistan 152/0 in 17.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 79 not out, Babar Azam 68 not out) by ten wickets.