India opened their account in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 with a seven-wicket win over archrivals Pakistan in their opening game of the tournament. In the Group 2 encounter, the Indian bowlers set up the game in their team’s favour by restricting Pakistan to 130 for seven. And later, following a 54-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina took India across the line with a 66-run unbroken partnership.
Opting to field first, MS Dhoni opened the bowling with Ravichandran Ashwin. India went into the game armed with the spin trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra, to complement the pace of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. The spinners proved to be economical as India restricted Pakistan to a modest total.
Pakistan were on 115 for six till the 19th over. But Sohaib Maqsood unleashed himself on Mohammed Shami in the last over to collect 15 from it. He smashed the debutant pacer for a six over long-on, a four over the bowler’s head and ran twos with Bilawal Bhatti before getting run out off the last ball of the innings.
Earlier, India got their first breakthrough with a run out as well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar ran Kamran Akmal out in the second over itself. Captain Mohammad Hafeez then joined Ahmed Shehzad in the middle and the pair added 35 runs at a good pace. After surviving a chance, while on five off Shami, Hafeez helped garner 12 runs from that over. However, an over later, he miscued Jadeja and holed out to Bhuvneshwar. In the following over, Mishra drew Shehzad into a shot and had him stumped, leaving Pakistan on 47 for three.
But an over later, Pakistan seized back the momentum as Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal took on Yuvraj Singh and Mishra to claim 13 runs off both bowlers’ overs. Mishra, who was brought back into the attack, responded with the key wicket of Malik. The middle-order batsman holed out to Suresh Raina at long-off. Six runs later, Raina caught Umar Akmal off Shami in the same region.
There was still the threat of Shahid Afridi – who had snatched the game away from India in the 2014 Asia Cup – that needed to be thwarted. With Maqsood for company, he looked to take on to the Indian bowling. But even as they collected 11 runs off the penultimate over, Afridi, who had taken the aerial route off Bhuvneshwar, was caught by Raina. Maqsood’s last-over cameo helped add valuable runs to the total.
Thereafter, chasing 131, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan took three overs to get the measure of the attack and conditions before starting to milk the Pakistani bowlers. Rohit was the first to attack; he struck Junaid Khan for four and sent the next ball sailing over point for six as India scored 12 runs from the fourth over. In the next over, Dhawan sent Saeed Ajmal to the fence thrice.
Both batsmen were going neck and neck as they kept the scorers busy. Rohit was on song as he slammed Umar Gul for a six over long-on. Later in the over, Dhawan holed out to fine-leg after powering Gul to the ropes for four.
The in-form Virat Kohli then got off the mark with a well-placed boundary through the slips. However, with India cruising at 64 for one, Rohit lost his stumps to Ajmal while on 24. In the next over, Bhatti knocked back Yuvraj Singh’s off-stump for one, leaving India on 65 for three.
Kohli and Raina then ensured that Pakistan did not get a foot in the door as they went after the bowling attack. While the left-hand batsman eased off the pressure with two boundaries through mid-wicket off Bhatti, Kohli hit Afridi for two more an over later. With the partnership taking shape, India inched closer to the target.
As the duo closed in on the target, Raina struck Junaid over mid-off for four to take India within 12 runs of victory. Meanwhile, Kohli dismissed him for four more off the last ball to take India to 124. With India needing seven off 12 balls, Gul was handed the ball in the penultimate over. After surviving a chance off the first ball, Raina launched him over the ropes to tie the scores. He then took India to victory off the next delivery. Man of the Match: Amit Mishra for his 4-1-22-2 that tipped the match in India's favour