Match report: Ind vs Pak – 1st T20I
India lost the first of the two T20Is against Pakistan by five wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Although Bhuvneshwar Kumar got India off to a good start with three wickets while defending 133, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik built a 106-run partnership to turn the game in Pakistan’s favour and pulled off a last-over finish.
The debutant, Kumar got India a wicket in the first over. The 22-year-old, who has made his way into the Indian team on the back of impressive performances in the domestic circuit, castled Nasir Jamshed to claim his first international scalp. Then, in his next over the youngster got Ahmed Shehzad to edge the ball to MS Dhoni behind the stumps; and on the last ball of the same over he knocked back Umar Akmal’s middle-stump.
With their team reeling on 12 for three, captain Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik went about the task of reviving the Pakistan innings. After taking their time to get in, the duo counterattacked in the second half of the innings. After they collected 13 runs in the 11th over off Virat Kohli, Malik launched Yuvraj Singh over mid-wicket for a six as duo picked 10 from the next over. Yuvraj Singh who was successful against the English went for runs as Hafeez too smashed him for a six. And though, Ravindra Jadeja had conceded only four runs in his first, he was hit over the fence by both batsmen in his next. The Pakistan skipper leading from the front brought up his fifty with one such big hit over long-off.
With Pakistan inching towards the target and 16 runs required of 18 balls Hafeez holed out to Kumar off Ishant Sharma. And a couple of deliveries later Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliant running catch after Malik took the aerial route went in vain as the delivery was adjudged a no-ball. But Ishant Sharma had kept India in the game by conceding only two runs in the over and taking a wicket. The home team then got a breakthrough in the next over as Akmal hit Ashoke Dinda to thirdman where Ishant Sharma took the catch.
With Pakistan needing 10 of six balls and Malik facing Jadeja and the experienced Shahid Afridi at the other end the match was set for a thrilling finish. But Malik hit a straight six to seal a win for Pakistan with two balls to spare.
Earlier, put in to bat the Indian openers got off to a watchful start. Tall debutant pacer Mohammad Irfan charged in at the batters who took the measure of the bowlers before cutting lose. India’s first boundary came off the last ball of the third over when Ajinkya Rahane struck Irfan Mohammad over cover. In the next over he sent Sohail Tanvir to the ropes and then again hit the tall pacer for a boundary over extra-cover.
Umar Gul who had replaced Irfan was welcomed with a boundary by Rahane, while Gautam Gambhir who was playing the supporting role, brought up India’s fifty with a six over mid-wicket later in the over. The younger partner who has been in sublime touch, growing in confidence sent Saeed Ajmal sailing over extra-cover for a six.
With Gul going for runs, Hafeez introduced Afridi into the attack but the Indian batsmen picked ten off him. However, in his next over the veteran cricketer sent back Rahane giving the visitor’s a much needed breakthrough. Eight runs short of a well deserved half-century, Rahane returned after slamming five boundaries and a six for his 42. A while later, Gambhir too returned; run out for 43. And though Yuvraj Singh who had replaced him announced himself with a six off the bowler, it went all downhill for India thereafter as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Irfan claimed Virat Kohli, while Ajmal dislodged MS Dhoni’s bails in the following over. Gul returning into the attack then followed up with the wicket of Yuvraj Singh who was caught at deep mid-wicket while attempting to clear the fence. The Pakistan bowlers didn’t allow the hosts to build partnerships. In his second spell Ajmal uprooted Suresh Raina’s leg-stump; and on the next ball of the over a direct hit by Shoaib Malik found Rohit Sharma short of his crease, thereby tilting the game in Pakistan’s favour. In the penultimate over Gul was on a hat-trick, after Jadeja edged the pacer to the keeper and then Ishant Sharma was bowled off the next delivery. It was then left to Kumar and Dinda to see India through their allotted quota of overs.
Man-of-the-Match: Mohammad Hafeez for his match winning 61-run knock.
Brief scores: India 133/9 in 20 overs (G Gambhir 43, A Rahane 42,U Gul 3/21, S Ajmal 2/25) lost to Pakistan 134/5 in 19.4 overs (M Hafeez 61, S Malik 57*, B Kumar 3/9) by 5 wickets