Malik, Hafeez guide Pak to victory

India vs Pakistan Twenty20 -I

Bangalore, Dec 25: Pakistan today snatched a thrilling five-wicket victory over India in the first Twenty20 International to record its first win in shortest format against arch rivals, whose bad streak continued close on the heels of their disastrous series against England.
India's batting woes saw them end on a meagre 133 for nine in 20 overs which the Pakistan chased down with two balls remaining, after suffering early jitters due to a brilliant opening spell by debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Pakistan needed 10 off the final over and Shoaib Malik hit a straight six off the fourth delivery off Indian bowling's weakest link Ravindra Jadeja to clinch the issue.
Skipper Muhammed Hafeez played a classic knock of 61 off 44 balls which included six fours and two sixes and added 106 runs for the fourth wicket with veteran Malik who contributed 57 off 50 balls with three fours and three sixes. The stand proved to be decisive in the end.
Debutant Bhuvneshwar had reduced Pakistan to 12 for three taking all the wickets in his first two overs when they started the chase.
The UP seamer started by bowling outgoing deliveries to left-hander Naseer Jamshed and then got one to nip back which crashed into his off-stump.
He then removed Ahmed Shehzad with a delivery that was fuller and moved a shade to find the edge which was taken by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The best was saved for Umar Akmal who got a ball that came back sharply to send his middle-stump for a walk. Skipper Dhoni decided to use him in a single spell and he ended with brilliant figures of 4-0-9-3.
Down in the dumps at 12 for three, skipper Hafeez and senior player Malik came together and slowly built a partnership.
India dominated the bulk of the innings but imploded thereafter, as Pakistan gave themselves an excellent chance of winning the first match of their first bilateral tour of India in five years.
A full house at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here reached peak decibel levels during an opening stand of 77 between Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane that laid an ideal platform for India's strong middle order to push on towards a formidable score. But a Pakistan fightback produced an Indian collapse, and consequently silenced a 36,000-strong crowd. Nine wickets fell for 47 runs in less than eight overs during which Pakistan raised their game, their bowlers backed up by superb groundfielding.
Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were the architects of that comeback, after being struck for sixes in their respective opening overs. Gul was smashed over midwicket by Gambhir, but had Yuvraj Singh caught in the deep off a slower ball in his new spell before removing two in two towards the death. Ajmal carted over extra cover by Rahane, but returned to dismiss MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina with quicker deliveries at a time when India would have backed themselves to reach a score of around or above 150.
They looked good for more when Rahane and Gambhir were going strong. Gambhir ceded floor to his junior partner, whose timing stood out, as he carted both seamers and spinners over extra cover with minimum effort. One such shot was a lofted drive off Ajmal for six; his preference for that area prompted Mohammad Hafeez to move a fielder to wide long-off, and it yielded a wicket when Rahane went after Shahid Afridi in the 11th over.
Gambhir had started picking up the pace but was caught short of the crease when attempting a second run in the 13th over. Sohail Tanvir returned a throw on the half-volley to Kamran Akmal, who collected well and dislodged the stumps. Virat Kohli and Yuvraj began well but fell trying to heave the seamers over square leg - left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan got rid of Kohli to bag his first international wicket.
Ajmal's tricks against Dhoni and Raina, and the early run-out of Rohit Sharma, sent back by a direct hit from the deep, transformed India's game from one aimed at an aggressive charge to mere survival. India scored just one boundary in the last six overs, the first half of the game won by a team that hasn't played together in more than two months.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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