Match report: Ind v Pak – Match 20, WT20
Colombo, Sep 30: India continued their unbeaten run against Pakistan in World Cup games as they beat their arch rivals in a 2012 ICC T20 World Cup Super Eights encounter. After their bowlers, led by L Balaji (three for 22), bundled Pakistan out for 128, Virat Kohli’s sparkling 78* (off 61 balls) helped deliver an eight-wicket win for India.
Earlier, India made a couple of changes to their playing XI following the defeat to Australia. Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla were replaced by Virender Sehwag and L Balaji, as MS Dhoni explained the changes were made given Pakistan’s ability to play spinners well. Pakistan, meanwhile, made no changes to the side that registered the tight two-run win against South Africa in their first Super Eights encounter.
Pakistan captain, Mohammad Hafeez, then won the toss and opted to bat first. It was an action packed start as Imran Nazir first cut Zaheer Khan to the point boundary off the third ball of the innings. After that MS Dhoni let a wide ball from Zaheer down the leg slide get past him to give away four extra runs. To make matters worse for India, Sehwag, standing at slip, dropped Mohammad Hafeez off the last ball of Zaheer’s over.
Irfan Pathan then turned the game in India’s favour. After Nazir (8) inside-edged the Indian left-arm pacer to the fine leg boundary, Pathan had him trapped lbw off the second ball of the second over even as the opener was walking down the track. Shahid Afridi (14), sent in to bat at No.3, hit a couple of fours, but was caught by Suresh Raina off L Balaji’s bowling soon after to leave Pakistan at 35 for two in 4.4 overs. From thereon, the Indian bowlers struck at regular intervals with Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin and L Balaji taking wickets in pairs to bundle Pakistan out for 128. Virat Kohli, too, contributed with the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez (15) to finish with figures of one for 21 from his three overs. For Pakistan, Shoaib Malik finished with the highest individual score of 28, while Umar Akmal (21) was the only other batsman to get past 20.
Chasing 129 to keep their tournament aspirations alive, India had a woeful start. Gautam Gambhir (0), looking to give left-arm spinner Raza Hasan the charge, ended up spooning a flatter ball straight back to him in the very first over. However, Sehwag and Virat Kohli kept the Indian innings on course with a 74-run second wicket stand. Sehwag (29) was eventually dismissed, caught at long-off by Umar Gul, when he tried to hit Shahid Afridi for a six. Kohli, nonetheless, having survived a dropped catch when on 42, took India home. He added 54 runs with Yuvraj Singh for the second wicket as India won with three overs to spare. Kohli remained unbeaten on 78, while Yuvraj was unbeaten on 19.
The win keeps India’s chances of a semi-final berth alive. They now play their last Super Eights game on October 2 against South Africa.
Brief scores: India 129/2 in 17.0 overs (Virat Kohli 78*, Virender Sehwag 29, Raza Hasan 1/22) beat Pakistan 128/10 in 19.4 overs (Shoaib Malik 28, L Balaji 3/22, R Ashwin 2/16) by eight wickets
Man-of-the-match: Virat Kohli for his match-winning innings of 78 (8x4, 2x6) off 61 balls