India kept their semi-final hopes in the World Twenty20 alive with an eight-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a Super Eights match at the Premadasa Stadium here yesterday.
India achieved the target of 129 with 18 balls to spare after Virat Kohli remained unbeaten on 78. Yuvraj Singh scored 19 off 16 balls for India to achieve a comfortable win.
India’s Virat Kohli plays a shot against Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday. Pic/AFP
India thus maintained their enviable record of not losing to Pakistan in a World Cup cricket match (550-50 and 20-20).
Virender Sehwag scored 29 off 24 balls on his return to the side. The Delhi blaster saw his opening partner Gautam Gambhir depart for duck in the second ball of the innings.
Earlier, cancer survivor Yuvraj claimed two wickets and effected a run-out as India shot Pakistan out for 128. Seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji chipped in with three wickets and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took two to leave Pakistan in tatters after Mohammad Hafeez won the toss and elected to bat.
Shoaib Malik top-scored with 28, but only one other batsman managed to touch 20 in the face of steady bowling by the Indians.
India’s win will keep all four teams (India, South Africa, Australia and Pakistan) alive for Tuesday’s last round of Super Eights matches.
A sell-out crowd of 35,000 at the Premadasa Stadium saw a scintillating start as the first two overs produced 13 runs each, besides a dropped catch in the slips by Virender Sehwag and the wicket of Imran Nazir.
India hit back to grab four more wickets in the next nine overs, two of them in successive overs by Yuvraj, to reduce Pakistan to 59-5 by the 10th over.
Big-hitter Shahid Afridi, who was promoted to number three, had made 14 when he lofted Balaji to deep mid-wicket where Suresh Raina was perfectly positioned to take the skier.
Yuvraj, who was treated for a rare germ-cell cancer between his lungs earlier this year before making a comeback for the World Twenty20, ran out Yasir Arafat with a direct throw.
Brief scores: Pakistan 128 all out in 19.4 overs (Shoaib Malik 28; L Balaji 3-22, R Ashwin 2-16, Yuvraj Singh 2-16) lost to India 129-2 in 17 overs (Virat Kohli 78 not out, Virender Sehwag 29) by eight wickets.