Mirpur: In what turned out to be a rather unexpected low-scoring thriller, India beat arch-rivals Pakistan by five wickets; their second in the Asia Cup, after beating hosts Bangladesh in the opener.
Like any India-Pakistan face-off, this match too was full with its ups and downs. We bring you five major instances that turned the match in India's favour. To top it up, there is also some trivia that would particularly impress Indian fans.
1. Low victory target: In a disciplined bowling performance by Indians at a bowler-friendly pitch, Pakistan were restricted to a paltry 83 runs for the loss of ten wickets. The low target turned out to be the biggest factor helping India achieve a convincing victory over Pakistan. The match could well have gone either way had Pakistan managed to shore up another 40-50 runs. This was Pakistan's third lowest T20I total, it's lowest ever against India in any format.
2. Disciplined bowling by India: Indian skipper M S Dhoni's decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid rich dividends as the opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan could last only four deliveries with Ashish Nehra claiming both scalps in his first over. By the end of the power play overs, Pakistan were already struggling at 32 for 3. Impressive and disciplined spells by Hardik Pandya (3-8) and Jadeja (2-11) only added to Pakistan's woes.
3. Poor batting by Pakistan: Pakistan were unable to break away from the initial jolts landed by Indian bowlers. With the scorecard showing only two Pakistani batsmen managing to reach double digits, the plot was already laid bare. Pakistan's inexperience at international matches showed clearly with its best batsmen found lacking in choice of shots as well as the calm demeanour required to withstand pressure. For Indian fans though, Shahid Afridi's run out was the icing on the cake.
4.Mohammad Amir's stellar bowling: While Mohd Amir's bowling genius is no secret, not many would have imagined it to dent India's top order with the ferocity with which he actually did. His four-over spell claimed three wickets – Rohit Sharma, Rahane and Raina – giving away only 18 runs. His first over had two of them – both Rohit and Rahana dismissed for a duck. Sami contributed with two wickets for 16, but it was the opening spell by Amir that had set the tone for what appeared to be a strong comeback by Pakistan right from the word go.
5. Virat Kohli shows class: Virat Kohli's class and grit were at its best, as Kohli defied the bowlers' onslaught on a tough pitch for batsmen and eventually made it look almost easy. Virat's 49 off 51 balls steered India to a comfortable win in the end. His dismissal though was unfortunate as he was wrongly declared out leg before by the umpire on a delivery that had clearly brushed his bat before hitting his pads.
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