South Asia’s bitter rivals Pakistan and India are meeting again on the cricket ground, marking a gradual thaw in their decades-old rivalry. The first bilateral series between India and Pakistan since November 2007, comprising two Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals, began on Christmas Day with a Twenty20 match in the southern Indian city of Bangalore which Pakistan won by five wickets. The pressure will be squarely on the hosts as they look to turnaround their batting failure in the opening game and level the series.
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That’s it! A tight over by Ishant, Pakistan manage only 7 from it! 1-1 it is in the T20 series! Pakistan were a little lax while bowling but came back well with the bat, but Yuvraj (72 from 36) was the difference between the two sides! What a knock by him! And let’s not forget Hafeez’s 55 of 26 balls to bring Pakistan within range of India’s total! Overall a great match, where the bat dominated in complete contrast to the first match. Score: IND 192/5 in 20 PAK 181/7 in 20. The standout bowler of the match was Dinda with his 3-36.
20 to win off the last over! Dinda bowled a great penultimate over! Ishant Sharma will bowl the final over! Malik on strike.
Dinda concedes a boundary to Akmal but then get his man next ball. Akmal managed to get it within touching distance of the long off boundary where Kohli took a great running catch! 172/6 in 18.4.
Hafeez falls, Dinda get his man! India are ecstatic here! 25 from 10, seems a little difficult for Pakistan now! Shoaib Malik is the new man! Can he do it again? 168/5 in 18.2
Hafeez ends that over with a brilliantly-placed boundary through short third-man! 26 from 12
Afridi falls! Fails to get that full toss over long off, Kumar strikes and more importantly a dot ball! 163/4 in 17.5. 30 from 13 balls.
SIX! Afridi doesn’t get it in the middle but it still sails high and handsome. 30 from 14!
FOUR! Hafeez bring up his fifty off 23 balls, the second fastest for Pakistan! 36 off 15.
Great over from Dinda, a wicket and only 6 runs. Importantly, he kept Hafeez off strike for a while which would have broken some of the batsman’s momentum! 152/3 in 17. 41 from 18 balls.
Hafeez, wow! What a shot, six towards long off. Ishant Sharma getting the treatment now. 1o runs off that over and Pakistan cruise to 146 in 16. 47 from 24 now the equation. Hafeez is striking everything in the middle.
Akmal loses his head! Should have tapped it for a single but misses a slower-one from Dinda and is bowled! Afridi walks in.
Hafeez follows the script against Dinda and smashes two boundaries of his first two deliveries. 136/2 in 15 overs
6,6,1,0,1,1. 15 runs from Ashwin’s final over. And Hafeez showing his other side, brought Pakistan back onto the track but Pakistan will need to continue this for much longer! 125/2 in 14.
14 runs from that Yuvraj over, boundaries from Hafeez and Akmal. The first by the captain, a late cute ala Inzi, and then Akmal blazes one down the ground to dry most the dew in that patch of the ground.
Hafeez paddles Kumar over fine-leg for a much-needed boundary, Pakistan will need a regular flow of boundaries if they are to stay in this. 12 from the over, 96/2 in 12 Pakistan.
Yuvraj holds his nerve, though, invites Shehzad for the slog who misses and is stumped by miles! Pakistan cannot be mindless about this. Shoaib Malik should have been pushed up but Hafeez comes in. Pakistan 84/2 in 11.
Yuvraj on and Akmal greets him with something familiar, a big six over long on!
Jamshed falls to the most harmless of balls. Ashwin bowls it wide and, ideally, the batsman should have let that one go but he only manages to edge to Kohli at point. Pakistan 75/1 in 10. Umar Akmal is the next man.
Ashwin continues, his third over. And Dhoni drops Jamshed’s inside edge! India will obviously rely on Yuvraj for the final end of the innings it seems.
Ashwin continues his wicket-to-wicket line, and Raina continues from the other end. Shehzad picks his second ball straight for a boundary and Pakistan end over number nine at 71. Pakistan will need one big over now!
Raina does well, only 5 runs from that over. Ashwin continues. It will be interesting to see whether Hafeez comes in at the fall of a wicket. Ideally, Pakistan should stick to same formula but Kamran Akmal can be a good choice. 59/0 in 7.
Decent over from Ashwin, only 6 from it. No spin on offer. Suresh Raina to bowl from the other end, Pakistan cannot afford to be complacent against him. 54/0 in 6.
Dinda suffers a similar fate, 13 runs from his first over! Pakistan 48/0 in 5. Dhoni brings in Ashwin, perhaps, earlier than he would have wanted to. But, perhaps, he should have attacked with the spinner. It will be interesting to see how the batsmen go about this.
BIG SIX from Shehzad! What a shot, he flat bats Sharma on the roof of Sardar Patel Stadium! PAK 30/0 in 3.3. Sharma’s hammering is a clear indication of the harmlessness of this pitch, again it will have to be Ashwin for India, hence, Pakistan will need to be smart. 35/0 in 4. Ashoke Dinda into the attack.
Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed start the chase and Pakistan inch to 9 in two overs. Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar do not look as menacing as the previous game but the sheer mass of runs they have to play with, will work in their favour. One feels Ravichandran Ashwin’s four overs will be key on this lifeless pitch.
Dhoni falls to a Gul yorker but it shouldn’t matter much as the captain along with Yuvraj have propelled India into a dominant position! India 191/5 in 20 overs! What a contrast to the first match! All batsmen fired for Dhoni and this is no doubt a mountain to climb for Pakistan’s wobbly top order! Yuvraj was excellent, his 72 off 36 have floored Pakistan here. The Pakistani bowlers were, perhaps, still in a Chinnaswamy state of mind, and guilty of not bowling according to conditions. They clearly did not read the pitch, but that should not take away from Yuvraj’s brilliance. Will there be a shift in the Pakistan order?
Yuvraj falls! He picked up a Gul yorker and almost made it count for a maximum! Shoaib Malik takes a neat catch just inches from the rope!
1,2,1,6,6,6! That’s Ajmal’s account in the 19th over! Yuvraj 72 of 35 with 7 sixes now! India 184/3. Gul to bowl the last.
Hafeez follows the same script, concedes 11 from his opening over! All of sudden Pakistan seem without any options! India 144/3 in 17.
Gul concedes 15 from the over, real big one for India and now 170 is a realistic possibility! It was typical Dhoni in this over, staying still and using those fast hands! 4,2,4,4,1,0. 133/3 in 16. Hafeez finally comes on.
Yuvraj greets Ajmal into the attack with a big six over midwicket, the wicket doesn’t seem to helping the spinners much either, but Ajmal and Afridi have only themselves to blame. India 118/3 in 15. Tanvir has one, Gul two and Afridi and Ajmal one each. Gul to operate now.
No Hafeez still and Irfan continues. India should be aiming for 160 minimum from here.
Afridi continues to throw apple pies at the batsmen, MS Dhoni opens his account with a boundary towards long-off before Yuvraj launches the bowler over midwicket for a repeat of his shot in Bangalore! The balls hit the second tier! India 105/3 in 13 and Afridi almost pleading for the mayhem to stop.
Ajmal finds Kohli well short of his ground with a bullet throw from short fine-leg! Yuvraj tapped it to the fielder and took off straight away and his partner never looked like making that one! Julien Fountain seems to have got their cross-hairs right!
If Irfan continues like this and prepares himself right, it will be interesting to see whether he gets picked for the South Africa Tests. Meanwhile, both Ajmal and Afridi continue to err. Why hasn’t Hafeez come on yet? Ajmal 2-12-0, Afridi 2-16-0. The figures may not seem too high but both bowlers have bowled without much control. Tanvir back on now.
Shahid Afridi starts his first over and concedes five. Afridi getting some spin but has been short. India have the perfect combo batting right now and if Kohli-Yuvraj can continue for another 5-6 overs, India can turn the tide here. Ajmal from the other end.
Break here as a raging Irfan bowls a killer first five-balls in the 8th over. He’s had Yuvraj hopping here and finally floors him with a trade-mark Waqar Younis style toe-crusher. Play continues and Kohli ends the over in exquisite fashion, stays back in his crease and times it straight down the ground for a boundary. 59/2 in 8 India.
Saeed Ajmal comes onto bowl, only four from his first over. In hindsight, Pakistan should have started with Irfan and Ajmal or Irfan and Hafeez. The ball is stopping and it will be an effort against the spinners. Gul continues and picks up another one, Rahane into the pull shot too early and only manages to toe-end it to the bowler! Should Pakistan continue with the same bowling attack in the ODIs? It look pretty balanced. On the sidelines are Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali and Zulfiqar Babar.
After leaking three fours, Gambhir is beaten by a Gul slower ball. The batsman tried to hoick it over midwicket but was too early into the shot and missed the delivery completely. The umpire took no time in adjudging him LBW. India 44/1 in 5 as Virat Kohli comes into bat. Osman Samiuddin charts the Pakistan-India rivalry here.
Still no spin on this very harmless track. Umar Gul now replaces Irfan. Gambhir straightaway picks him for two boundaries! Pakistani fans will be hoping he goes for more and then comes back to produce a repeat performance of the first T20.
Only three given away by Irfan in the third over. India 20/0. Why Mohammad Hafeez does not bowl himself at the start of the innings anymore is anyone’s guess but he has been mighty effective against Gambhir. Meanwhile, Tanvir continues to leak runs. Rahane picks him over the covers and then plays the old-fashioned leg-glance towards fine leg. 1,1,4,4,0,1. India 31/0 in 4 overs.
Sohail Tanvir starts the second over of the innings in typical fashion, short and wide and gets spanked for two fours. Gambir and Rahane both seem like they have come out with a plan and there’s nothing circumspect about their approach. India race to 17/0 in 2 overs.
Irfan looks impressive once again but the Indian batsmen been smart, hung around in the crease and tapped him around from singles. Rahane also picked up a boundary early on through the point region to take India to 7/0 in the first over.
Mohammad Irfan to start the proceedings for Pakistan, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane the openers. Irfan marks his run with giant strides and looks focused.
Pakistan have won the toss and elected to field first. The tourists are unchanged from the first T20 while India have brought in Ashwin in place of Jadeja.
Mohammad Hafeez*, Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal†, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan
G Gambhir, AM Rahane, V Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, SK Raina, RG Sharma, MS Dhoni*†, R Ashwin, B Kumar, I Sharma, AB Dinda