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Attacking instincts pay for Mishra

Leggie says flight, spin and bowling for wickets has made him a better T20 bowler

In the format where spinners prefer to contain the flow of runs by bowling a flat trajectory, Amit Mishra is a rare exception. The leg-spinner has achieved recent success in the Twenty20 format by sticking to his attacking instincts, which is to bowl to pick wickets.

"I am not afraid of flighting the ball because I always think about taking wickets and not restricting the batsmen,” Mishra said after bowling India to a win against Pakistan in Mirpur. “I believe you can never succeed trying to stop the flow of runs instead of trying to take wickets. If you try to take wickets, you can put pressure on the batsman," Mishra said after his Man of the Match winning performance of 4-1-22-2 in India’s first game of the World Twenty20.

Mishra said his belief also got the approval from his captain, who encouraged him to bowl to his strengths. "The captain (Dhoni) always tells me that I should try to spin the ball as that is my strength,” Mishra said. “He tells me that I have the ability to beat the batsman in flight. That`s how I got Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik out today. In T20 cricket, more variations you have, the more advantageous position you are in.

The recent successes, including that in the Asia Cup, have come Mishra’s way after a tough year and a half or so of warming the bench. The leggie insists he never let his confidence level drop during that period.

"I was never down on confidence when I was not playing. The key is to remain positive and I tried to shut out negative things. In our team, the good thing is that everyone is told to remain ready as anyone could be called. When you get your chance, you need to grab it with both hands," he said.

Mishra was a stand-out bowler in India’s Asia Cup encounter against Pakistan with figures of 2 for 28, and that, he said gave him the confidence of doing well in this match as well.

"It`s always a special feeling to perform against a side like Pakistan,” he said. “I bowled well against them in the last Asia Cup and that also helped. There is always a pressure of playing against Pakistan but I would never say extra pressure. That is always there when you are representing your country,

while Mishra has played only a couple of T20 internationals, he has ample experience in the format itself with 117 matches. Mishra credited IPL, where he has gained most of his experience in the shortest format, for his improved show.

"Obviously, IPL has helped a lot to improve my bowling having competed with the best batsmen in the world. In fact, most of the talent in Indian cricket is coming through IPL as it is providing an ideal platform to the talented players,” he said.

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Statistical highlights: World T20 - India vs Pak

India's unbeaten run and the end of Mishra's T20I hiatus

0 India have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup match. They have won all four encounters in World T20 and all five in ODI World Cup. So, the Men in Blue are now 9-0 against their archrivals in World Cup competition.

2 Number of times Suresh Raina has taken three catches in a Twenty20 International match. He now joins Ross Taylor as the only other fielder to do so more than once.

4 Number of times Kamran Akmal has been dismissed run-out in T20Is. Two of them have come against India, making him the first batsman to suffer this fate. His brother Umar holds the Pakistani record with 5 run-outs.

33 Number of wickets taken by Saeed Ajmal in World T20. With this he equalled Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga’s tally of most wickets in the tournament.

1011  Number of days after which Amit Mishra appeared in a Twenty20 International. He made his T20I debut against Zimbabwe at Harare in June 2010.