... after Mohammad Amir’s devastating spell threatens to deny India an easy win over Pak
Mirpur: India recovered from three early jolts, inflicted by a devastating spell from Mohammed Amir, before notching up a five-wicket victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20 tournament, here on Saturday.
India’s Virat Kohli plays a cover drive during the Asia Cup T20 cricket match against Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Amir (3-18) rocked the Indian top-order with a fast and furious four-over spell but the small target of 84 was not good enough to stop the ‘Men In Blue’ who knocked off the runs with 27 balls to spare.
Indian bowlers had demolished the Pakistan batting line up with a superlative show as they bundled out the arch-rivals for a paltry 83 in only 17.3 overs after opting to field.
But it required the calm and class of Virat Kohli (49) to take India home without further setbacks as his 68-run stand for the fourth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (14 not out) proved to be decisive.
Kohli’s 51-ball innings had seven boundaries and he looked cut above any batsman, who featured in Saturday’s game. This is their second win for India in the tournament and takes them a step closer to the final of the continental championship.
Earlier, a collective effort from the Indians bowlers was backed brilliantly by the fielders as it became a ‘no-contest’ from the moment India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to field on a pacer-friendly wicket.
The Indian bowlers made good use of the conditions and the fielding unit also put relentless pressure to effect two run-outs as it threw Pakistani innings in disarray.
Ashish Nehra (1-20) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-8) dealt initial blows while new sensation Hardik Pandya (3-8) kept up the pressure and recorded the best figures among the bowlers. Such was the pressure on Pakistan, that spin twins Ravindra Jadeja (2-11) and Ravichandran Ashwin were brought in the 12th and 13th over respectively.
The only Pakistan player to cross the 10-run mark was wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed (25). This was their lowest score in a T20 against India as they managed only eight boundaries.
M Hafeez c Dhoni b Nehra 4
S Khan c Rahane b Bumrah 7
K Manzoor run out 10
S Malik c Dhoni b Pandya 4
U Akmal lbw b Y Singh 3
S Ahmed b Jadeja 25
S Afridi run out 2
W Riaz lbw b Jadeja 4
M Sami c Raina b Pandya 8
M Amir b Pandya 1
M Irfan not out 0
Extras (lb 4, w 11) 15
Total (all out; 17.3 overs) 83 Fall of wickets 1-4, 2-22, 3-32, 4-35, 5-35, 6-42, 7-52, 8-70, 9-83
A Nehra 3-0-20-1
J Bumrah 3-2-8-1
H Pandya 3.3-0-8-3
Y Singh 2-0-11-1
R Jadeja 3-0-11-2
R Ashwin 3-0-21-0
R Sharma lbw b M Amir 0
A Rahane lbw b M Amir 0
V Kohli lbw b M Sami 49
S Raina c W Riaz b M Amir 1
Y Singh not out 14
H Pandya c M Hafeez
b M Sami 0
M Dhoni not out 7
Extras (b 1, lb 3, w 8, nb 2) 14
Total (5 wickets; 15.3 overs) 85
Fall of wickets 1-0, 2-2, 3-8, 4-76, 5-76
M Amir 4-0-18-3
M Sami 4-0-16-2
M Irfan 4-0-16-0
W Riaz 3.3-0-31-0