DHAKA: India overcame a fiery opening spell from Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir to pummel their bitter rivals by five wickets in a key Asia Cup Twenty20 match in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday.
Defending a low score of 83 runs, Amir generated sheer pace and swing with pinpoint accuracy on a helpful track at the Sher-e-Bangal National Stadium, to leave India rattled at 8-3 inside three overs.
Both India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane went for a duck and Suresh Raina could help himself only hoisting a catch at mid-off to Wahab Riaz after making one.
Virat Kohli struck Amir, and then hit Mohammad Irfan before giving Riaz the same treatment to put India firmly in control.
India finally reached 85-5 to complete the victory with 27 balls to spare with man of the match Kohli making 49, the top score, off 51 balls with seven fours.
Captain Shahid Afridi rued his batsmen’s failure to read the wicket. “We have played so much cricket. We should have read the pitch, we did not play according to the pitch,” said Afridi. “If we lose 4-5 batsmen in the first six overs, we can’t score 140.”
Indian skipper MS Dhoni said: “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 World Twenty20,”
Man of the match Kohli hailed Amir for his brilliant efforts. “I would like to congratulate Mohammad Amir for the way he bowled,” Kohli said. “I actually congratulated him while he was bowling. It was amazing to play such a spell.”
Today’s score was Pakistan’s lowest against India in the seven Twenty20 internationals they have played so far. Pakistan’s previous lowest total against their traditional rivals was 128.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2016.