India overcame a fiery opening spell from Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir to pummel their bitter rivals by five wickets in a key Asia Cup Twenty20 match in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday.
Defending a low score of 83 runs, Amir generated sheer pace and swing with pinpoint accuracy on a helpful track at the Sher-e-Banga National Stadium to leave India rattled at 8-3 inside three overs.
Both India's openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane went for a duck and Suresh Raina could help himself only hoisting a catch at mid-off to Wahab Riaz after making one.
Virat Kohli struck Amir, who bowled four overs at a stretch to finish with 3-18, for two fours in his final over to restore some confidence.
Kohli then hit Mohammad Irfan for another four in the next over before giving Riaz the same treatment twice in the space of three balls to put India firmly in control.
India finally reached 85-5 to complete the victory with 27 balls to spare with man of the match Kohli making 49, the top score, off 51 balls with seven fours.
Mohammad Sami trapped Kohli leg before to deny him his fourth fifty in five Twenty20 internationals. The pacer removed Hardik Pandya for a duck but the effort was too little too late.
Yuvraj Singh survived a barrage of short balls to give Kohli an invaluable support in their match-winning 68-run fourth wicket partnership.
The experienced campaigner remained 14 not out facing 32 balls.
"We are a team that loves to play aggressive cricket. But this pushes us to respect the conditions, which will be good going into the World Twenty20," said India skipper MS Dhoni.
"I'm glad we restricted them to (83) runs, .. and the game was on."
Man of the match Kohli hailed Amir for his brilliant efforts.
"I would like to congratulate Mohammad Amir for the way he bowled," Kohli said. "I actually congratulated him while he was bowling. It was amazing to play such a spell."
Pakistan would have had to create a new record if they were to defend their score, as the lowest total successfully defended in a Twenty20 international is 96.
Earlier, Indian medium pacers came up with some tight and aggressive bowling as they made regular breakthroughs to put the side in the driving seat.
Pandya returned with a career best 3-8 but Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra, who claimed one wicket apiece giving away eight and 20 runs respectively, were equally impressive.
Two runouts also hurt Pakistan, who were reduced to 45-6 before they made some resistance through wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed.
He made 25 runs, the team's best, for Pakistan while Khurram Manzoor (10) was the only other batsman to reach double figure.
Left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowled Sarfraz as he finished with 2-11.
Pandya took two wickets in his final over to humiliate Pakistan to their lowest score against India in the seven Twenty20 internationals they have played so far.
Pakistan's previous lowest total against their traditional rivals was 128.
Captain Shahid Afridi rued his batsmen's failure to read the wicket.
"We have played so much cricket. We should have read the pitch, we did not play according to the pitch," said Afridi.
"If we lose 4-5 batsmen in the first six overs, we can't score 140."
Mohammad Hafeez c Dhoni b Nehra 4
Sharjeel Khan c Rahane b Bumrah 7
Khurram Manzoor run out 10
Shoaib Malik c Dhoni b Pandya 4
Umar Akmal lbw b Yuvraj 3
Sarfraz Ahmed b Jadeja 25
Shahid Afridi run out 2
Wahab Riaz lbw b Jadeja 4
Mohammad Sami c Raina b Pandya 8
Mohammad Amir b Pandya 1
Mohammad Irfan not out 0
Extras (lb4 w11) 15
Total ( all out; 17.3 overs) 83
Fall of wickets: 1-4 (Hafeez), 2-22 (Sharjeel), 3-32 (Khurram), 4-35 (Malik), 5-35 (Akmal), 6-42 (Afridi), 7-52 (Wahab), 8-70 (Sarfraz, 9-83 (Sami), 10-83 (Amir)
Bowling: Nehra 3-0-20-1 (w3), Bumrah 3-2-8-1, Pandya 3.3-0-8-3, Yuvraj 2-0-11-1, Jadeja 3-0-11-2 (w3), Ashwin 3-0-21-0 (w5)
R. Sharma lbw b Amir 0
A. Rahane lbw Amir 0
V. Kohli lbw b Sami 49
S. Raina c Wahab b Amir 1
Y. Singh not out 14
H. Pandya c Hafeez b Sami 0
MS Dhoni not out 7
Extras (b1 lb3 w8 nb2) 14
Total ( five wickets; 15.3 overs) 85
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Sharma) 2-2 (Rahane), 3-8 (Raina), 4-76 (Kohli), 5-76 (Pandya)
Did not bat: R. Jadeja, R. Ashwin, J. Bumrah, A. Nehra
Bowling: Amir 4-0-18-3 (w6), Sami 4-0-16-2, Irfan 4-0-16-0 (nb1 w1), Riaz 3.3-0-31-0 (nb1, w1)
Result: India won by five wickets
Umpires: Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI) and Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid (BAN)
TV umpire: Enamul Haque (BAN)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZ)
Virat Kohli scored a confident 49 to prop up India in a tricky chase as they defeated neighbours Pakistan by five wickets in a low-scoring Asia Cup match on Saturday.
India weathered some hostile bowling from Amir after skittling their rivals for 83.
Amir gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope by reducing India to 8-3 in the fourth over but Kohli showed his class on a tricky wicket to stroke seven boundaries in his magnificent knock of 49.
He was aided by Yuvraj Singh who shared in a 68-run stand with Kohli with Dhoni smashing the winning boundary to steer India home with nearly five overs to spare.
Amir finished with three for 18 and Sami two for 16 while Riaz went for 31.
India, who will host the World Twenty20 next month, will be boosted by the performance of their bowlers ahead of the March 8-April 3 tournament after they skittled Pakistan for 83 inside 18 overs.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur and his bowlers responded brilliantly, extracting good movement out of the wicket.
Medium paceman Hardik Pandya was the most successful among the Indian bowlers, picking up three wickets for eight runs, while Pakistan did not help their own cause with Khurram Manzoor and captain Shahid Afridi running themselves out.
Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed's 25 was Pakistan's highest individual score while Manzoor, making his T20 debut, was the only other batsman to reach double figures with 10.
India's chase also began on a sorry note with left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir dismissing both openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane leg before in the first over before they had opened their scoring.
Suresh Raina fell in Amir's next over as India were reduced to 8-3 with Kohli and Yuvraj Singh at the crease.
Yuvraj struggled against the Pakistan pace attack initially but managed to stay at the crease with Kohli as the duo added 68 for the fourth wicket to take India in sight of their target.
Kohli looked assured and on course for his 13th T20 fifty but was given lbw against paceman Mohammad Sami though he seemed to have got an edge on the ball.
Pandya fell two balls later for a duck, edging Sami to Mohammad Hafeez at first slip where the fielder managed to hold on after juggling the ball a few times.
India were still eight runs away from their target but southpaw Yuvraj (14 not out) and Dhoni took them home with 27 balls to spare.
Dhoni smashes Riaz through the offside for the winning boundary. Ind 85-5, 15.3 overs.
Sami strikes twice as Pandya goes for a duck with Hafeez latching onto a catch after a bit of a wobble. Ind 76-5, 14.3 overs.
Hardik Pandya c Mohammad Hafeez b Sami 0 (2b)
Kohli's magnificent knock comes to an end with India needing eight to win as Sami breaks the 68-run stand. Ind 76-4, 14.1 overs.
Virat Kohli lbw b Sami 49 (51b 7x4)
Kohli is in sublime form flicking a Sami to the square leg fence. Ind 63-3, 12 overs.
India are in cruise control as Kohli and Yuvraj have added 50 off 54 balls. Ind 58-3, 11 overs.
Wahab goes for 15 in his opening over with Yuvraj clippping to square leg for a boundary. Ind 50-3, 9 overs.
Kohli is in sizzling form cracking a couple of boundaries through the offside off Riaz.
Kohli finally gets the measure of Amir hitting two consecutive boundaries clipping to square leg followed by a classic cover drive. Ind 29-3, 7 overs.
Yuvraj survives a testing over from Irfan who beats the bat several times. Pak 21-3, 6 overs.
Yuvraj hits the first boundary of the innings with a sizzling cover drive off Irfan. Ind 13-3, 4 overs.
Amir is on fire fire with Kohli surviving a leg before shout before Raina chips to mid-on off a leading edge. Ind 8-3, 2.4 overs.
Suresh Raina c Wahab Riaz b Mohammad Amir 1 (4b)
Double strike by Amir as Rahane goes for a golden duck and Pakistan are off to a sensational start. Ind 2-2, 0.4 overs.
Ajinkya Rahane lbw b Amir 0 (1b)
Amir strikes with his second delivery after Rohit survives a confident appeal for leg before first ball. Ind 0-1, 0.2 overs.
Rohit Sharma lbw b Amir 0 (2b)
Pakistan put into bat by India are bundled out for a meagre 83 in the 18th over.
Early strikes by Nehra and Bumrah unsettled before a couple of run outs saw their innings in tatters.
Jadeja claimed two for 11, including top scorer Sarfraz Ahmed (25). before Pandya wrapped up the innings with superb analysis of 3-0-11-2.
Pakistan are all out for 83 in 17.3 overs as Pandya strikes in consecutive balls.
Mohammad Amir b Pandya 1 (8b)
Pandya traps Sami who hammers straight to a fielder stationed at square leg. Pak 83-9, 17.2 overs.
Mohammad Sami c Raina b Pandya 8 (19m 16b 1x4)
Sami attacks Ashwin sweeping to square leg for a boundary which is followed by five wides. Pak 83-8, 17 overs
Jadeja strikes a deadly blow castling Sarfraz. Pak 70-8, 15.1 overs.
Sarfraz Ahmed b Jadeja 25 (24b 3x4)
Sarfraz slams Ashwin for a boundary to long-on as Pakistan get a move on. Pak 70-7, 15 overs.
Sarfraz gets a much-needed boundary deliberately playing Jadeja to steer it past the keeper. Pak 63-7, 14 overs.
Jadeja also strikes in his first over as Riaz swings and misses to be trapped plumb in front. Pak 52-7, 11.4 overs.
Wahab Riaz lbw b Jadeja 4 (12b)
Pakistan are 47-6 at the halfway stage with Sarfraz being the last recognised batsman.
Pakistan are imploding as Afridi is gone turning back for a second making the mistake of challenging Jadeja's arm. Pak 42-6, 8 overs.
Shahid Afridi run out 2 (2b)
Yuvraj strikes with his first delivery trapping Akmal leg before. Pak 35-5, 7.1 overs.
Umar Akmal lbw b Yuvraj Singh 3 (4b)
Pakistan are tottering as Pandya takes the big wicket of Malik caught behind. Pak 35-4, 7 overs.
Shoaib Malik c Dhoni b Pandya 4 (12b 1x4)
Khurram is out by a mile after a direct hit from Kohli having been sent back by Malik after some hesitation. Pak 32-3, 5.5 overs.
Khurram Manzoor run out 10 (25m 18b 1x4)
Khurram survives after having gloved a catch behind off Nehra but the umpire thought otherwise. Pak 28-2, 5 overs.
Malik opens with a sizzling drive past backward point for a boundary. Pak 26-2, 4 overs.Sharjeel gets the middle of the bat swinging Bumrah to midwicket for a trademark boundary before perishing two balls edging to slip. Pak 22-2, 3.3 overs.
Sharjeel Khan c Rahane b Bumrah 7 (5b 1x4)
Khurram bludgeons Nehra to the midwicket fence to open his account. Pak 18-1, 3 overs.
Bumrah troubles new batsman Manzoor with his pace and bounce bowling a maiden. Pak 5-1, 2 overs.
Nehra has drawn first blood having Hafeez caught behind off an outside edge. Pak 4-1, 0.4 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez c Dhoni b Nehra 4 (4b 1x4)
Hafeez steers the second ball from Nehra through point for the first boundary of the match.
Sami will be playing his first game for Pakistan since May 2015, when he toured Zimbabwe with the limited-overs team as Pakistan play four fast bowlers.
India: Rahane, Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Pandya, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Nehra, Bumrah
Pakistan: Manzoor, Sharjeel Khan, Hafeez, Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Afridi, Wahab Riaz, M Sami, M Amir, M Irfan
The big news is that dashing opener Dhawan is out with a niggle and is replaced by Rahane.
Haven't been this excited about an India match for a very long time! Rahane's inclusion has just doubled my excitement :D #INDvPAK— Sakshi Gupta (@sakshi2929) February 27, 2016
Dhoni has drawn first blood calling right after Afridi tossed the coin to blunt Pakistan's hopes of unleashing their firepower by inviting them to take first lease of the wicket.
This is the same pitch which was used in the opening match of the Asia Cup between India and Banlgladesh on Wednesday.
India have a better overall record than Pakistan in matches between the two Asian giants.
Indian team are seen in a huddle in this video.
Pakistan will be relishing the green top at Mirpur and Afridi will have no hesitation in bowling first and unleashing his arsenal going by the trend during the PSL.
As usual the toss will be crucial because of the dew factor. So who will win the toss? Afridi or Dhoni.
This is a day when India and Pakistan unite as a nation to watch cricket.
No opinions,no debates,no violence! The whole nation unites this evening! That's the beauty of #IndvsPak cricket matches! ✌🏻— Aishwarya gham (@aishwarya_gg) February 27, 2016
There is holiday atmosphere in Dubai on a working day where Indian and Pakistan are gearing up for the battle.
Feeling Like A Friday In Dubai #IndvsPak— Asif Khan (@asifkhan__) February 27, 2016
There is so much hype surrounding this match but one player who will be in the line of fire is shrugging off the pressure created by fans in the subcontinent.
The excitement is rising now for the big match! All the best to Team India against Pakistan. Hopefully it's gonna be a thriller! #IndvsPak— Ashish Tiwari (@tiwari_11_ashi) February 27, 2016
“As far as I am concerned, there is no difference in playing Pakistan. You get on the field and you play with a bat and ball. That’s how I feel. They are a strong team, and we want to do well against them the same way we want to do well against all teams. It will be a good contest. There is a lot of hype, which is exciting for the people. But on the field it’s the same as playing any other team,” said Virat Kohli.
Every cricket fan's dream day.... Can. Not. Wait. 😁😁 #IndvsPak— ASIF ALI (@asifali_11) February 27, 2016
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik believes Pakistan's PSL experience has boosted their confidence.
“As a Pakistani, I will tell you that Pakistan will be the favourite,” he said. “But recently India has done well. We are also playing a lot of competitive cricket. We just completed the PSL,” he said.
Some are putting a positive twist this 'mother of all battles' and hoping it would break down barriers.
Will this contest between bat and ball break the wall between neighbours. #IndvsPak— Rajasekar KS (@PositiveMantra) February 27, 2016
India have had the better of Pakistan in all their Twenty20 International clashes over the years except on one occasion, in Bangalore in December 2012.
India have had the better T20 record between the two teams over the years, winning five and losing only one.
Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi said he wanted to take responsibility and put up a winning performance when his team takes on arch-rivals India in their Asia Cup opener on Saturday.
Afridi's flagging performances have meant Pakistan have won just one of their last six T20 internationals, and the enigmatic captain knows it.
The all-rounder scored just 38 runs in three matches against New Zealand in January and also failed against England in November.
“I always gave importance to my performances because it is important for my team,” Afridi told reporters at Fatullah, just outside the Bangladesh capital on Friday.
Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi has even shelved his retirement plans to focus on the Asia Cup and World Twenty20.
Afridi hinted they could unleash a four-man pace attack bolstered by the return of Mohammad Sami and could be spoiled having in their arsenal Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Amir.
India's mighty batting line-up led by Virat Kohli & Co are set to fiery pace examination by Pakistan spearheaded by Wahab Riaz.
Is the Inda vs Pakistan the 'Super Bowl' of cricket?
Today is our Superbowl, el clasico and Border combined. #IndvsPak— Angad Singh Ranyal (@PiratedSardar) February 27, 2016
Twitter battle began hours before the 'ultimate showdown' in cricket with some comparing it to the Super Bowl.
One team a green machine. Bowling power! Can rip thru any attack.— JJ (@jjliveson) February 27, 2016
Other bleeding blue. More so in the face when playing Aus 😁.#INDvPAK
Why Pakistan will beat India?
First and foremost their superior fast bowling attack. The bounce of Mohammed Irfan and swing of Mohammed Aamir will be enough. It will be a low scoring game, because of the bowlers but also because of the Dhaka pitches. They prepare green tracks.
- Faris Qavi, business consultant, Dubai
Why India will beat Pakistan?
At the moment, India has a very evenly poised team with promising youngsters like Pandya and Bumrah.
India has a very strong batting lineup with Kohli, Dhawan and Sharma leading from the front. The latest explosive find is Pandya who is good with the ball, bat and on the field. The team is stronger than ever.
- Markos Abraham, Head of Customer Support track24dubai, Dubai
Click to read: India vs Pakistan Asia Cup T20: Afridi aims to unleash
fire power to blunt batting might
The battle lines have been drawn, as the India-Pakistan Asia Cup 2016 clash will see the two cricketing giants come head-to-head in Saturday’s face-off.
The fan frenzy has reached fever pitch thousands of miles away from Dhaka, where the match will be played live, to reach the shores of the UAE, where a large diaspora of Indian and Pakistani fans get set to raise their flags high in support of their respective teams.
Partha Srinivas, a Dubai-based sales representative, has already cut a ticket for Bangladesh to catch the match live at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka.
Quiz him about his zeal to catch the match live in Bangladesh, and the reply that comes forth is: “My country needs me. India needs me.”
While some may fail to understand the fever pitch that sends cricketing fans into a tizzy when India and Pakistan face each other in a tournament, Sharjah-based Zakir Khan explains it by saying: “It’s now ingrained as part of their overall cricketing tradition. You have arch-rivals across every industry, so why not cricket?”
However, not everyone is of the mind the clash will be a showstopper at the Asia Cup T20 clash.
Dubai-based Kunal Bilakhia, part of local cricket group Team Shindaga, stated: “I’m actually not that excited. The charm of an Indo-Pak cricket match has fizzled out.
“What I would really be excited about would be to see them resume full time test and one-day international cricket relations.
“Having said that, though, I am truly excited to see the UAE-India match.”
Bilakhia isn’t the only one, with Dubai-based Arsh Patel stating: “I will have front row seats for the Indo-Pak match on Saturday, but I am equally excited to root for the UAE in its clash against the Asian nations.”
If you are a fan of either team or want to watch Saturday’s game for the love of cricket, here are three hotspots to catch the game live from 5pm onwards UAE time:
Qube, Meydan Hotel
Who: Party-loving Indian fans
What’s not to love here? There’s an indoor venue, with a huge four-sided screen at its center, while an outdoor terrace will also feature a live DJ from 2pm and serve up food and shisha.
Meanwhile, those who are forced to tag along with no love for cricket, can enjoy killing time at the dart boards and pool tables.
Rooftop Ascot Hotel
Who: Pakistan fans unite
The Rooftop at Ascot Hotel is a firm favourite in Bur Dubai, serving up some scrumptious treats and, of course, shisha and beverages.
DJ Hani and Ravee will spin the decks in between overs, and we are sure a bevy of fans supporting the boys in green will be making their way here. Not to rule out though that the boys in blue will have enough around to root for their cause.
Time Café Ramee Royal Hotel
Who: Cricket fans anonymous
A firm favourite for everyone who’s anyone who happens to love cricket, Time Café will deck the halls with colours of both cricketing nations for Saturday’s big match.
Restaurant manager Dominic Mathias told ‘Emirates 24|7’: “We will be screening the match across 40 screens, two of these will be giant 107-inch ones.
“As usual, we will also have a live DJ to keep the party going, with plenty of food and beverages, along with shisha.”
Mathias further stated they expect a crowd of 500 or more fans at tables, while another 300 would be the standing crowd.
Minimum spend is Dh100, with the place expected to fill-up by 4pm.