Unbeaten 55 by senior pro at Eden helps India continue dominance over Pakistan at World events
Kolkata: A cover-driving Virat Kohli ensured Pakistan ran for cover and India maintained its victorious run over arch-rivals with a six-wicket victory in a rain-curtailed 18-overs-a-side ICC World T20 match at Eden Gardens here on Saturday.
Kohli 55 not out in 37 balls (7x4, 1x6) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni 13 not out calmly saw India over the line with 13 balls to spare.
Virat Kohli celebrates India’s victory over Pakistan in Kolkata on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Off Kohli’s seven fours, two beautiful cover drives off Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi and one push through the covers off Mohammad Amir summed up the match
for both parties. Kohli playing some sensible, textbook cricket, while Afridi and Pakistan failed with both bat and ball.
It was anything but a good start for the hosts though. Rohit Sharma began showing glimpses of a continuing romance with his favourite ground when he hit two fours in the second over off Mohammad Irfan.
Pakistan pacer Mohammad Sami celebrates the wicket of Suresh Raina on Saturday. He finished with 2-17. Pic/PTI
No luck for Rohit
But it wasn’t to be, as, in the first ball of the very next over, Amir had him caught at cover by Shoaib Malik for just 10. Just two runs off the next Irfan over, had the Indians under pressure and Mohammad Sami, in his very first over next up, had Shikhar Dhawan (6) playing one onto his stumps. Twenty three for two became 22-3 in an instant, as Suresh Raina left as hurriedly as he came, clean bowled by Sami off the very next ball and India were staring down the barrel.
Kohli and a vintage-looking Yuvraj Singh then steadied the ship for the hosts. Two strokes highlighted Yuvraj’s stay at the crease — an on-the-up cover drive boundary and stylish pull for a six off Wahab Riaz.
However, his rush to up the ante rather unnecessarily saw him attempt to pull Riaz for maximum, only to find Sami at the fence.
Earlier, Pakistan began over-cautiously, with openers Ahmed Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan milking the Indian bowlers for ones along with the odd and rare boundary.
Such was the pace of the innings that the duo shared just four boundaries between them (two apiece) and Pakistan had nearly used up seven to be precise, with just 34 on the board. Had it not been for T20 specialist Malik’s street-smart batting alongwith Umar Akmal (22 off 16, 1x4, 1x6), Pakistan would have perished well
Malik, who boasts of some vast T20 experience in England, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan, notched up a 16-ball 26, that included a big six over mid-wicket off Pandya followed by two fours off Bumrah, one off Jadeja as the visitors registered a respectable 118 for 5 off 18.
S Khan c Pandya b Raina 17
A Shehzad c Jadeja
b Bumrah 25
S Afridi c Kohli b Pandya 8
U Akmal c Dhoni b Jadeja 22
S Malik c Ashwin b Nehra 26
S Ahmed not out 8
M Hafeez not out 5
Extras (b 2, lb 3, w 1, nb 1) 7
Total (5 wickets; 18 overs) 118
Fall of wickets 1-38, 2-46, 3-60, 4-101, 5-105
A Nehra 4-0-20-1
R Ashwin 3-0-12-0
J Bumrah 4-0-32-1
R Jadeja 4-0-20-1
S Raina 1-0-4-1
H Pandya 2-0-25-1
R Sharma c Malik b Amir 10
S Dhawan b Sami 6
V Kohli not out 55
S Raina b Sami 0
Y Singh c Sami b Riaz 24
M Dhoni not out 13
Extras (lb 3, w 7, nb 1) 11
Total (4 wickets; 15.5 overs) 119
Fall of wickets 1-14, 2-23, 3-23, 4-84
M Amir 3-1-11-1
M Irfan 2.5-0-25-0
M Sami 2-0-17-2
S Afridi 4-0-25-0
S Malik 2-0-22-0
W Riaz 2-0-16-1