Singapore: Medium pacer Sandeep Warrier picked up three wickets, while opener Unmukt Chand struck a patient half-century as India's Under-23 team got the better of archrivals Pakistan by three wickets in a limited overs Group A match of the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore on Sunday.
Chasing 192 for victory, the Indians got off to a fine start with Under-19 World Cup winning skipper Chand (61) and Lokesh Rahul (46) providing the team a solid platform. And despite the middle-order batsmen not contributing handsomely, India could sail home with 13 balls to spare at Kallang Ground.
Chand and Rahul shared a 84-run stand for the opening wicket.
Apart from the duo, India skipper Suryakumar Yadav also made a useful contribution with 23 runs after Pakistan's left-arm spinner Raza Hasan picked up three wickets to take the contest to the closing stages.
Opting to field, the Indian pace duo of Sandeep Sharma and Warrier proved their captain's decision right by exposing Pakistan's frail batting line-up.
Both displayed an incisive spell of fast bowling to slice through the opposition top-order line-up, reducing Pakistan to 22 for three inside 10 overs.
Openers Babar Azam (2) and Azeem Ghumman (3) departed in quick succession, while Bilawal Bhatti (7) too made his way back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers much.
It was then left to Umar Waheed (46) and Usman Salahuddin (61) to steady the rapidly sinking ship and provide some stability to the innings.
The pair added 85 runs for the fourth wicket to take the team's total past the 100-run mark before left-arm spinner Akshar Patel broke the stand by scalping Waheed.
Pakistan never recovered from the loss and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals before Salahuddin also ran out of patience and was caught by Baba Aparajith at covers off Warrier in the 47th over of the innings.
His 105-ball 61 was studded with just two hits to the fence.
While Warrier finished with brilliant figures of three for 32 from his nine overs, Sharma chipped in with two wickets for 39.
Replying to the total, Indians got off to a flying start as Chand and Rahul denied Pakistan's frontline bowlers any success. Both were cautious in their approach and mostly dealt in twos and threes while looking for occasional boundaries.
The opening wicket stand was broken by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz when he got Rahul's wicket.
Hasan then had Manpreet Juneja (11) bowled as the twin strikes reinvigorated the Pakistan side.
From 106 for two, the Indian side was suddenly struggling at 160 for six with Chand, Yadav, Ankit Bawne (5) and Patel (6) all back in the pavilion.
With the match turning into an exciting contest with both sides looking to start their campaign with a win, Aparajith (13 not out) and Ashok Menaria (18) combined well and raised a crucial 31-run partnership for the seventh wicket to take their side home.
For Pakistan, apart from Hasan (3 for 39), Nawaz accounted for two wickets.
In the ACC Emerging Teams Cup tournament, India are placed in Group A along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal.
Group B comprises Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE and Singapore.
The matches will be played at Kallang Cricket Ground and Singapore Cricket Ground from August 17-25.
India will next take on Nepal (August 20) and Afghanistan (August 22). The final will be played on August 25.