Shoaib Malik scored an unbeaten 57 off 50 balls against India on Tuesday © Getty Images
Bangalore: Dec 25, 2012
Pakistan drew first blood in the highly anticipated tour of India as they beat the hosts by five wickets in the first T20 match at Bangalore.
The visitors were rocked by debutant Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who picked up three quick wickets but an inspiring knock from Shoaib Malik and captain Mohammad Hafeez took the visitors to victory.
Kumar opened the bowling for India and set up the wicket of Nasir Jamshed beautifully. He bowled five deliveries that went away from the left-hander while the last one straightened after pitching on his off-stump and went through his defence to castle the stumps.
Next to go was Ahmed Shehzad who was caught behind by MS Dhoni. This time, Kumar bowled a delivery that was going away from the right hander, luring him to attempt a drive and edge it to the keeper in the process.
A pumped up Kumar then bowled a wonderful in-swinging delivery to beat the bat-and-pad gap of Umar Akmal and crash into the middle stump.
However, Hafeez and Malik played sensibly to pull their side out of trouble, putting on a valuable partnership of 106 runs for the fourth wicket. Hafeez scored a half-century, bringing up the mark with a six off Ravindra Jadeja. He was eventually dismissed for 61, but the damage was already done as Pakistan needed just 16 off 17 deliveries.
India’s ploy of benching Ravichandran Ashwin in a bid to play an extra left-arm spinner in Jadeja seemed to have back-fired as both Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh failed to make an impact with the ball. Jadeja bowled too short and was hit all over the park by Hafeez and Malik.
Just when Pakistan seemed like they were walking away with the game, India made a sudden come back.Ishant Sharma, after a few heated exchanges with Kamran Akmal took a splendid catch in the deep to send him back to the pavilion. With just 14 required off the last two overs, Ashok Dinda bowled well to give just four runs away. Pakistan needed 10 runs off the last over as Jadeja was handed the ball.
He kept the pressure and gave just four runs in the first three balls, but Malik did what England’s Eoin Morgan did in the second T20 against India by hitting a six straight over the bowler’s head to give Pakistan a five-wicket victory.
Earlier, Pakistani bowlers did well to restrict India to 133 after openers Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane were off to a good start, scoring 75 runs in the first 10 overs. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul bowled brilliantly to rip apart the Indian batting line-up as they picked up five wickets between them.
India went from 75 for no loss to 133 for nine as the Indian middle-order seemed toothless in front of Pakistan’s bowling attack. In the end, despite the initial hiccups, the target was always well within Pakistan’s reach as the duo of Hafeez and Malik took Pakistan to safety.
The win gives Pakistan an unassailable lead of 1-0 in the two-match T20 series.
Brief Scores: India 133 for 9 (Gautam Gambhir 43, Ajinkya Rahane 42; Saeed Ajmal 2 for 25, Umar Gul 3 for 21) lost to Pakistan 134 for 5 (Mohammad Hafeez 61 , Shoaib Malik 57* ; Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 3 for 9) by five wickets