Bangalore: Shoaib Malik and skipper Mohammad Hafeez made useful half-centuries as Pakistan registered their first Twenty20 victory over India, beating their arch-rivals by five wickets to take 1-0 lead in the two match Twenty20 series.
Needing ten runs in the last over, Pakistan overhauled the Indian target of 133 when Malik smacked Ravindra Jadeja for straight six. He remained unbeaten on 57 off 50 while Hafeez made 61 off 44 deliveries. The two shared 106 runs for the fourth wicket - the highest for Pakistan in a T20 international.
Both were watchful in the beginning but played some lovely strokes once they settled down. Virat Kohli came in for some heavy punishment, leaking 21 runs in his two overs. Yuvraj's long hops were also dispatched for maximums by both Malik and Hafeez. When the Pakistan captain was finally out off Ishant Sharma, Pakistan needed less than 20 runs to win.
After being restricted for a paltry total, India were given a rousing start when Bhuvneshwar provided the hosts three initial wickets. He castled Nasir Jamshed (2 off 6) before getting Ahmed Shehzad (5 off 7) caught by MS Dhoni. He uprooted Umar Akmal’s middle stump off a vicious in-dipper before the batsman could get his eye in.
Earlier, Indian batting suffered a sensational collapse as they were restricted for a meagre 133 for 9. Openers Gautam Gambhir (43 off 41) and Ajinkya Rahane (42 off 31) gave India a solid platform, putting up 77 for the first wicket. But everything changed drastically once Rahane got out trying to clear the extra cover boundary off Shahid Afridi. India lost nine wickets for an addition of just 47 runs.
Other than Gambhir and Rahane, all the other frontline batsmen failed miserably. Yuvraj Singh (10 off 9) and Suresh Raina (10 off 9) were the other batsmen who could manage scores in double figures. Umar Gul was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers, taking 3 for 21 after conceding 13 in his first over. Ajmal too chipped in with 2 for 25 to keep things under the check in the middle overs.
India started on a positive note, with Rahane taking on Mohammad Irfan – the tallest player (7 feet 1 inch) to have played the game at the international level – and Sohail Tanvir with ease. The positive intent by Rahane rubbed on to Gambhir, who was a bit scratchy early on in his innings. Rahane hit the shot of the Indian innings when he thumped Ajmal for a six over extra cover. Gambhir too opened his shoulders and hit Gul for a six over mid-wicket.
Afridi provided Pakistan the first breakthrough when he had Rahane caught by Umar Akmal. Gambhir followed him soon as he was run out while attempting a second run. Yuvraj Singh began with a big heave over deep mid-wicket for a maxium, while Virat Kohli (9 off 11) too stroked a boundary.
Irfan returned for his final over and troubled Kohli with his awkward bounce before getting him caught behind. MS Dhoni (1 off 2) was foxed by Ajmal whose length ball angled across before kissing the side of the off-stump. From 77 for 0, India were 108 for 4 and it soon became 115 for 5 with Yuvraj being caught in the deep. Raina became Ajmal's second victim when the offspinner uprooted his leg-stump.
Rohit Sharma (2 off 2) was run out by a brilliant direct throw by Malik while Ravindra Jadeja (2 off 4) was caught behind poking at an away going delivery by Gul, who also cleaned up Ishant Sharma with a toe-crushing yorker for a duck.