Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mishra only gave away 22 runs and took two wickets from his four overs
The stage was set for another thrilling encounter between Asia’s biggest cricketing rivals, but it was India who emerged on top as they absolutely dominated Pakistan by seven wickets to kick off proceedings at the World Twenty20 in Mirpur.
The win also means that Pakistan have failed to beat India in all four of their World Twenty20 clashes.
India’s batting duo of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina were the standout performers as they scored 36 and 35 respectively.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have been jumping for joy with his decision to bowl first as Pakistan opener Kamran Akmal was run out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar for eight runs.
Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez scored 15 runs before he was caught by Kumar at deep cover off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
Ahmed Shehzad managed to make 22 runs before he was stumped by Dhoni off the bowling of Amit Mishra.
Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal stabilised the innings with a 50-run partnership before Malik was caught by Raina at long-off off the bowling of Mishra.
Akmal ended up making 33 before he was also caught by Raina at long-off, but only off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Shahid Afridi only made eight runs before he was caught by Raina at deep midwicket off the bowling of Kumar.
Shoaib Maqsood made a quickfire 21 before he was run out by Jadeja.
Pakistan eventually finished on 130/7 at the end of their 20 overs.
Mishra was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Jadeja, Kumar and Shami chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 131 to win, India got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma amassed a 54-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by Saeed Ajmal at fine leg off the bowling of Umar Gul for 30.
Sharma went on to score 24 runs before he was clean bowled by Ajmal.
Yuvraj Singh failed to have an impact as he was cleaned up by Bilawal Bhatti for just one run.
From that point on it was all India as Kohli and Raina amassed an unbeaten 66-run partnership to lead India to a convincing seven-wicket win.
Kohli finished on 36 off 32 balls, which included four boundaries and a six, while Raina remained undefeated on 35 off 28 deliveries, which also included four boundaries and a six.
Gul, Ajmal and Bhatti snapped up one wicket each.
Hafeez was extremely disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “The pitch was a little damp, not coming onto the bat, there was extra bounce. We were 20 runs short, we also dropped some catches, we have to take them in matches like this. Long way to go in this tournament. Maqsood has natural talent to hit the ball hard.”
Dhoni was pleased to have gotten India’s World Twenty20 campaign off to a flying start, and said: “[We] dropped [a few] catches, it would have been better if we could have taken them, apart from that it was a fantastic game. Rohit and Dhawan gave us a good start, Kohli and Raina capitalised. It is good to see Raina among the runs, with him around it gives us the firepower in the middle order. [About extra spinners] we will have to decide based on how much dew is there, I think today Amit Mishra bowled 70-75% of what he can bowl.”
Mishra was named Man of the Match, and said: “I did some hard work, I’m very happy we won this match. I’m always thinking of going for wickets and building up pressure. MS gave me a lot of support today, the sort of support you need as a bowler.”