The Indian team used their spinners very well to keep Pakistan under control © AFP (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mar 21, 2014
A team that has come under fire for its bowling off late rose to the occasion against the arch-rivals. The Indian bowlers, spinners in particular, put in a spirited performance as they restricted Pakistan to 130 for six in their ICC World T20 2014 encounter at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. India would now have to chase down that score to maintain a clean slate over their arch rivals in World Cups.
With dew expected, Indian captain MS Dhoni chose to bowl first. A lot of factors were behind the decision, mainly the fact that India opted to play three spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja. Pakistan opted to play more fast bowlers, with Saeed Ajmal being their frontline spinners.
Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad opened the batting for Pakistan. Akmal looked in good touch early on. He swept Ashwin in the first over for four and then drove Bhuvneshwar Kumar with conviction. However, there was a lot of uncertainty in the calling early on and Akmal fell victim to it. Shehzad sent him back when he tapped one on the off-side in the second over. Bhuvneshwar picked it up in his follow through and scored a direct hit.
Mohammad Hafeez and Shehzad were gradually building the innings, finding the boundary a few times. However, the uncertainty in the calling persisted and many times, the batsmen found themselves stranded in the middle. Just when Hafeez was trying to break free, he tried to loft Mishra over the top and was caught by Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he ran in from deep extra cover. A few balls later, Shehzad charged to Jadeja and was stumped by Dhoni. In 8.2 overs, Pakistan were 47 for three.
From there on, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal played with positive intent. They were also helped by a few dropped chances and a misfield or two. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the culprit on most occasions as he failed to take a tough chance and also conceded a boundary. However, a highlight of the partnership was Malik charging to Mishra and smashing him for six over long-off.
In seven overs, they had added 50 and were warming up for an assault. Just then, Mishra had Malik out as he charged and mistimed it down Suresh Raina’s throat at long-off. That is where Pakistan were dented.From overs 16-18, they scored only eight runs as India kept a check on them. Uar Akmal was then out as Mohammed Shami had him caught by Raina at mid-off. Shami, who was making his T20 International debut, picked up his first wicket.
There were no heroics from Afridi this time, as he was out for eight, falling to Bhuvneshwar in the penultimate over. Sohaib Maqsood, who batted at No 7, managed to hit a few off the middle of the bat and pushed Pakistan to their eventual total. Sohaib was out off the last ball, but the final over was the most expensive over of the innings.
Pakistan 130 for 7 in 20 overs (Umar Akmal 33; Mohammed Shami 1 for 31, Amit Mishra 2 for 22, Ravindra Jadeja 1 for 18) vs India.