World T20: Spin wins it for India

Trio of R Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja gave away only 63 runs in 12 overs as Dhoni & Co thump arch-rivals Pakistan by seven wickets in their World T20 opener

Mirpur: India put up a thoroughly professional performance to thrash arch-rivals Pakistan by seven wickets in a one-sided opening group league encounter to launch their ICC World Twenty20 campaign in style, here yesterday.

India players celebrate the wicket of Mohammad Hafeez at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday. Pic/AFP.

At a packed Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, the Indian spinners did a commendable job in restricting Pakistan to a modest 130-7 after electing to bowl. Chasing the target, the Indian batsmen sent the opposition bowlers on a leatherhunt to canter home by seven wickets with nine balls to spare.

Man-of-the-match Amit Mishra celebrates the wicket of Shoaib Malik

India thus maintained their clean slate against Pakistan in World Cup events — this is their fourth victory against the traditional foes in the marquee tournament of shortest versions.

Unbroken partnership
Two in-form batsmen Virat Kohli (36 not out) and Suresh Raina (35 not out) made useful contributions as they added 66 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket to finish the match in style. Kohli hit four fours and a six during his 32-ball knock, while Raina’s runs came off 35 balls with equal number of boundaries and six.

Earlier, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to field three specialist spinners — Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin — and bowl first on a slowish track was vindicated as the trio gave away only 63 runs between them in the 12 overs and also removed three Pakistan batsmen, thereby putting brakes on their scoring rate. Mishra (2-22), Jadeja (1-18) and Ashwin (0-23) all got a bit of help from the track which had a bit of bite and turn on offer.

While Ashwin bowled round the wicket to deny the batsmen any room to chance their arms, Jadeja bowled wicket to wicket with the odd delivery turning away from the right-hander. Mishra too was bang on target with his flighted leg breaks and varied the length of his deliveries and pace through the air. Dhoni rotated his bowlers brilliantly not letting the opposition batsmen to get away easily, frequently changing the ends.

Figure Trigger
4: The number of times Kamran Akmal has been run out in T20Is. Yesterday he was run out by Bhuvneswar Kumar for eight

36.64: Virat Kohli’s average in T20Is in 22 matches. Against Pakistan, the average shoots up to 75

4: The number of times spinner R Ashwin has bowled the first over of an innings in T20Is

Good to see raina among runs: MS Dhoni

Dhaka: Skipper MS Dhoni yesterday hailed his opening batsmen after India’s seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the World T20 here.

“Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) gave us a good start, and (Virat) Kohli and (Suresh) Raina capitalised. It is good to see Raina among the runs, with him around, it gives us the firepower in the middle order,” said Dhoni, even as his opposite number — Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez — rued dropped catches while defending a small total of 130.

“We dropped some catches. We have to take them at this level and in low scoring matches like this. Unfortunately, we could not do that. Also, I thought this was a 150-plus wicket and we were about 20 runs short,” said Hafeez.

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