Muhammad Amir made the most prolific comeback against India with three wickets in his first two overs but that could not prevent MS Dhoni-led men from bagging a five-wicket victory over Pakistan at Mirpur in the Asia Cup match.
Amir fired from the word go and dismissed Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane on naught in the first over of the second innings.
His third over saw struggling Suresh Raina being caught at long-on by Wahab Riaz and at that point Pakistan looked in a promising position to defend the paltry 84-run target.
However, no other bowler was able to inspire the team and one of the main Indian batting’s pillars Virat Kohli played a responsible 51-ball 49 runs innings to guide the team home.
Earlier, Pakistan failed to handle pressure against India as they were sent packing for 83 runs in 17.3 overs.
Sarfraz Ahmed (25) was the top-scorer for the Shahid Afridi-led men, while Khurram Manzoor (10) was the only other batsman to enter double figures.
Indian bowlers were on target from the start and Pakistan helped their cause with two careless run outs.
Hardik Pandya took three for eight runs in 3.3 overs. Ravindra Jadeja accounted for two batsmen while Yuvraj Singh, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra bagged one wicket apiece.
Misbahul Haq while talking to TenSports: Pakistan team’s batting approach looked flawed; fear and confusion was evident on their faces. They should have kept wickets in hand till the first ten overs. These wickets provide enough opportunities to score after the ball becomes old.
Man of the match is Virat Kohli: “It wasn’t an easy wicket to bat. I wasn’t happy with myself in the last game where I went too hard at the ball. I had to respect the conditions; I made mistakes in the last innings but I dug in this time. I would like to congratulate Mohammad Amir for the way he bowled; I actually congratulated him while he was bowling. It was amazing to play such a spell. Counterattacking is the game I play, that’s why I bat at number three but sometimes you have to respect the conditions and play that way. It is very important to be able to change your shot at the last moment in such conditions. You need to be switched on mentally, stay calm and relaxed.”
Shahid Afridi: “We should have read the pitch; we did not play according to the pitch. If we lose 4-5 batsmen in the first six overs we can’t score 140. We had to read the situation, Kohli was an example, and Yuvi. If we had survived the fast bowlers, there wasn’t much turn on the pitch for their spinners.”
MS Dhoni: “We are a team that loves to play aggressive cricket but this pushes us to respect the conditions which will be good going into the WT20. I’m glad we restricted them to 85 runs; 100 or 110 runs and the game was on. The fast bowlers did well but even after that we took wickets at regular intervals which is crucial to stop runs in this format. We have to be switched on in the field, that is one department where you can guarantee performance, one run out can take the game away from the opposition.”
IND 85-5 (15.3 overs)
FOUR! Smashed through covers by the Indian captain MS Dhoni and India bag the victory. India go up 6-5 up against Pakistan in the Asia Cup victory count.
Single on the second ball, three needed.
Wahab Riaz to Yuvraj.
IND 80-5 (15 overs)
Single taken and India need only four runs off 30 balls.
Misfield by covers and Afridi slips on the boundary to allow easy three for India. Five needed off 31.
OUT! Pandya edges it to Hafeez at first slip who wobbles but bags it safely in the end. MS Dhoni joins Yuvraj in the middle.
Hardik Pandya is the new man in and India are in-single-figures away from victory.
LBW! Kohli given out by the umpire after he got a big inside edge on the ball. He deserved that half-ton; he walks back on 49 off 51.
Sami to Kohli.
IND 76-3 (14 overs)
FOUR! Immaculate cover drive by the best Indian batsman at the moment, Virat Kohli.
Wahab Riaz to Kohli.
IND 68-3 (13 overs)
No ball and Yuvraj Singh will again face it! Kohli smiles while running toward the non-striker’s end… Short and Yuvraj pulls it in front of Wahab at long-on.
Muhammad Irfan bowls to Kohli now. How many matches has Kohli won for India? There must a long list but where is our own Kohli? Sorry, we didn’t produce any!
IND 63-3 (12 overs)
Five runs off the over.
FOUR! A cross seam ball into Kohli legs and he just swings it towards leg side.
Muhammad Sami to Kohli now.
IND 58-3 (11 overs)
Five runs off the over. And Pakistan can’t win this by defending runs. They need seven more wickets and no one else than Amir has looked promising enough to do that.
Wahab Riaz starts with an over-step no-ball and Yuvraj gets a free-hit. Yuvi receives a full-toss but hits it straight to covers for a dot.
IND 53-3 (10 overs)
Just three runs off the over.
Muhammad Sami is in now. Can he recreate Amir’s magic for Pakistan?
IND 50-3 (9 overs)
FOUR! On Yuvraj’s legs and Wahab disappointing Pakistan after such a great show by Amir.
FOURx2! Kohli showing his class once again for India at a crunch moment.
Wahab Riaz introduced into the attack.
IND 35-3 (8 overs)
FOUR! Cut past first slip and Kohli beats Wahab at the fence.
Muhammad Irfan bowls his third over now.
IND 29-3 (7 overs)
FOUR! Cover drive timed to perfection by Kohli.
FOUR! Short and Virat just jumps onto it glances it towards square leg.
Muhammad Amir into his last over. Is there another wicket in the reckoning for him?
IND 21-3 (6 overs)
Only one run off the over and that too from a wide.
Yuvraj being saved by lady luck. Irfan has beaten him twice with some inswing.
Wide down the leg side.
IND 20-3 (5 overs)
Umar Akmal attempts a direct hit towards the non-striker and the umpire is hit on his knee. Umar apologises, the umpire shakes his leg and says its ok.
WIDE and FOUR! Over the keeper’s head. Even Irfan would have missed this as a keeper.
Muhammad Amir AGAIN!
IND 13-3 (4 overs)
Only the boundary off the over otherwise it was a perfect over by Irfan.
FOUR! Yuvraj pierces the cover field.
Muhammad Irfan is on now.
IND 8-3 (3 overs)
OUT! Amir strikes AGAIN! Edge and Raina lifts it up in the air. Pakistan are so back in this game.
AMIR IS BACK FOR HIS SECOND OVER! Yes that is the level of excitement at the moment.
IND 6-2 (2 overs)
Wahab Riaz misfields at mid-on and India convert a single into two.
Muhammad Sami has been given the ball. He has been in form for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.
IND 2-2 (1 over)
What an over! Amir has done what he was expected to. Can the other bowlers compliment his performance?
Suresh Raina is the new man in and he misses an outswinger from Amir. He is on song in the very first over.
LBW! Ajinkya Rahane is caught in front. Fuller ball and Amir has somehow brought Pakistan in this game.
OUT! This time it has swung back and umpire raises his finger. There is drama in the match. India lose Rohit without any runs on the board. Virat Kohli walks in.
Muhammad Amir bowls the first over. Woah! A close appeal for LBW and replay show it was plumb.
PAK 83 all out (17.3 overs)
BOWLED! Amir’s middle stump is uprooted. Pakistan bundled out under 100 runs. It will be a walk in the park for the Indian batting.
OUT! Short and Sami pulls it towards Suresh Raina at square leg.
Pandya in for his last over.
PAK 83-8 (17 overs)
WIDE and FOUR! The arm ball goes wide and to the boundary.
FOUR! Sami swing towards square leg.
PAK 71-8 (16 overs)
Only one run and a wicket off the over.
BOWLED! Jadeja darts one into the wickets and Sarfraz is beaten by pace.
Jadeja in for his third.
PAK 70-7 (15 overs)
FOUR! Great shot by Sarfraz under pressure. Targets midwicket.
PAK 63-7 (14 overs)
FOUR! Sarfraz plays late and just kisses it past Dhoni and short third man.
Jadeja with his left-arm spin.
PAK 58-7 (13 overs)
Only two runs off the over.
So, India have brought on Ravi Ashwin, their strike bowler, but Pakistan is already down and out against India.
PAK 56-7 (12 overs)
Five runs off the over and Sarfraz is accompanied by Muhammad Sami.
LBW! Wahab attempts a sweep and is caught plumb in front by Jadeja.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is the new bowler.
PAK 51-6 (11 overs)
Another over gives four runs to Pakistan.
FIFTY comes up for Pakistan on the fourth ball of the over.
PAK 47-6 (10 overs)
Swept by Wahab for a single off the last ball. Four runs off the over.
Three runs off the first five balls.
Yuvraj in for his second.
PAK 43-6 (9 overs)
Only a single off the over. Sarfraz trying to calm things down. Still 11 overs are remaining.
Pandya in for his second over. Sarfraz has to play another great knock here and Wahab Riaz is the man who is there to support him. Pakistan might miss Anwar Ali today.
PAK 42-6 (8 overs)
RUN OUT! Afridi is gone! Pakistan losing track of the script completely.
FOUR! Cut behind point by Sarfraz.
Pakistani captain and vice-captain on the pitch now.
LBW! Yuvi strikes first ball, Umar defends and missed it completely.
Yuvraj Singh with his left-arm spin.
PAK 35-4 (7 overs)
CAUGHT BEHIND! Malik takes the long walk back as Pandya strikes. It was wide and swung just a bit outside; Malik was pulled into playing a shot and lost his wicket.
Hardik Pandya with his slow medium pace. Umar Akmal pulls for two on the first ball.
PAK 32-3 (6 overs)
RUN OUT! Confusion and Khurram loses his bat in the middle of the pitch. Kohli with a direct hit. Umar Akmal is the new man in.
LBW appeal on Malik follows.
FOUR! Malik just nudges it towards fine leg.
Bhumra in for his third over on the trot. Dhoni keeping the pressure intact on Pakistan.
PAK 28-2 (5 overs)
A loud appeal for caught behind on Khurram but the umpire says it not out. Dhoni and Nehra were convinced; replay shows that there was a sound.
Khurram walks out on Nehra and finds the mid-on fielder who misfields it for two easy runs.
Ashish Nehra continues. Starts with two dots.
PAK 26-2 (4 overs)
FOUR! Width and Malik goes towards covers.
OUT! Sharjeel slices hard at it and a wide slip takes an easy catch. Shoaib Malik is the new batsman in.
FOUR! Sharjeel welcomes Bhumra with a boundary. Short and pulled towards midwicket.
PAK 18-1 (3 overs)
Dot to end the over. Good over for Pakistan!
Another boundary saved by India courtesy good fielding.
Khurram with another slash through covers. Ravindra Jadeja dives and saves a boundary.
FOUR! Short and smashed through midwicket. Khurram was standing deep in his wicket.
Nehra is back for his second over. Start with a wide.
PAK 5-1 (2 overs)
Ends the over with another dot. Maiden bowled to Khurram.
Right-arm medium-pacer Jasprit Bhumra starts with five dots against Khurram Manzoor.
PAK 5-1 (1 over)
OUT! Short and Hafeez edges it to Dhoni. India strike early. Casual and careless from Hafeez. Right-hand batsman Khurram Manzoor is the new man in.
FOUR! Hafeez goes through covers.
Muhammad Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan open the innings for Pakistan. Left-arm medium pacer Ashish Nehra opens the bowling for India.
Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, Sharjeel Khan, Muhammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Sami, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Irfan.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah
Dhoni: I haven’t judged the wicket as of now. It is softer and has a little bit more grass. Respect should be given to the bowler in the first few overs. Pressure is always there, if you say it is not there then you are lying.
Afridi: I wanted to bat first. Four fast-bowlers and seven batsmen. I am very much relaxed. I think if you take pressure then you can’t win; you need to relax. If fast-bowlers can bowl in the right areas then they can be successful.
Dean Jones thinks whoever will win the toss will opt to bat first on the Mirpur pitch.
Here are some of the view of the cricketers from the countries