Twice in the 2007 World T20, once in the 2012 edition and once again today in the inaugural match of the 2014 World T20. These are the instances where India came out victorious against Pakistan in the T20 World Championships. Since the inception of the 60-over World Cup way back in 1975, Pakistan has failed to get the better of India in a World Cup encounter, be it the 60 overs a side tournament or the 50 over version or the shortest form of the game. After falling prey to Shahid Afridi’s brutal innings in the recently concluded Asia Cup, India took a sweet revenge over their arch rivals in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 as the World Champions humbled Pakistan by 7 wickets in a slow rank turner at the Sher-E-Bangla stadium in Mirpur. The Indian spinners set the tone for a victory and batsmen complemented them as they chased the target with ease. With the wicket expected to aid the spinners and with the dew set to play a big impact, Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bowl first, a decision that had seemed to have paid off. India’s Leg Spinner Amit Mishra was declared the Man of the Match.
Chasing a modest 131, India got off to a steady start as their openers saw off the early threat by scoring over fifty runs without losing wickets and at the same time, they managed to score at a decent rate. Dhawan in particular was severe on Ajmal as the left hander smashed him for three fours in a single over and when the things seemed to go in India’s way, Dhawan fell to Umar Gul caught in the fine-leg by Ajmal. Soon India lost the wicket of well-set Rohit Sharma as he dragged Ajmal’s delivery on to the stumps. Yuvraj Singh followed Rohit to the pavilion cheaply after seeing the woodwork disturbed by Bilawal Bhatti and India seemed to be in a spot of bother after some quick wickets. But India’s Mr. Dependable Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina held the fort and kept the score-board ticking without taking any risks. A target at 6.5 runs per over never worries the Indian team as Kohli and Raina took India safely home with 9 balls to spare earning their side a 7 wicket victory. Once again Saeed Ajmal was the successful bowler for Pakistan as he conceded only 18 off his four overs including the scalp of Rohit.
After asked to bat first by Indian slipper MS Dhoni, Pakistan got off to a shaky start by losing their Wicket-Keeper Kamran Akmal early on in the innings after a misunderstanding with his opening partner Ahmed Shahzad. Skipper Hafeez and Shahzad tried to stabilize the innings but they were done in by the turn generated by Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra respectively. Mishra’s delivery to dismiss Shahzad was an absolute ripper, a classical leg spinner which deceived the batsman completely and skipper Dhoni did the rest. These three wickets dented Pakistan’s run-rate as the job of taking their innings through safely was left to India’s son-in-law Shoaib Malik and the talented Umar Akmal who played their part by sharing a partnership of 50 in seven overs and set the stage for Boom Boom Shahid Afridi to unleash the beast inside him. But unfortunately Afridi failed to replicate his Asia Cup heroics as went cheaply to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Some rusty hitting in the end from the bat of Sohaib Maqsood prompted Pakistan to a challenging score of 130 for 7, the target that seemed to be below par for the strong Indian batting line-up. The Indian spin trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra kept the Pakistani batsmen at bay by conceding just 63 runs off their 12 overs and picked up three wickets between them.
India will play the defending Champions West Indies on Sunday, the game in which a victory for the Men in Blue will take them a step closer to the semi-finals and on the other hand, the wounded Pakistanis will play the tournament favourites Australia in their next match to stay alive in the tournament.
Brief Scores: Pakistan: 130/7 in 20 overs (Umar Akmal 33, Sohaib Maqsood 21, Amit Mishra 2/22) lost to India: 131 /3 in 18 over (Kohli 36, Raina 34*, Dhawan 30) by 7 wickets.