DUBAI: Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan smashed unbeaten half-centuries as Pakistan crushed India by 10 wickets to register their first win over their archrivals in a Twenty20 World Cup yesterday. Chasing 152 for victory, Babar (68) and Rizwan (79) took apart the Indian bowling as they steered their team home with 13 balls to spare in Dubai.
Left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi set up victory – their first over their neighbors in six attempts in the tournament – with figures of 3-31 that kept down India to 151-7 despite a valiant 57 from skipper Virat Kohli. Babar and Riwan went on the attack from the start with boundaries inside the powerplay – the first six overs when only two fielders are allowed outside the inner circle – to set the tone for their chase.
The batting pair kept up the charge as Babar reached his fifty with a six off spinner Varun Chakravarthy to get the Pakistan crowd dancing with joy. Rizwan raised his fifty with a boundary off pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah and then raced past his captain, hitting six fours and three sixes in his 55-ball knock. Babar hit the winning runs to turn a new page in Pakistan-India rivalry.
Earlier Afridi returned figures of 3-31 after a lethal first spell to hurt India who elected to field first in the Super 12s encounter watched by 20,000 in the stadium and a global TV audience of hundreds of millions of fans across the globe. Kohli scored his 29th T20 fifty to help the team rebuild before being caught behind off Afridi as Pakistan dismissed the star batsman for the first time in a T20 World Cup game.
Afridi struck the first blow with an express delivery that swung in to trap Rohit Sharma lbw for a first ball duck and the bowler celebrated with his trademark open-arm gesture. Kohli walked in amid raucous applause from the Indian fans who were soon silenced by another ripper from Afridi in his second over.
Earlier, Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in a feisty T20 World Cup clash yesterday, hammering home their status as surprise title contenders. Chasing an imposing target of 172, the 2014 champions saw Charith Asalanka (80 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (53) lead them to victory for a fourth successive win after three triumphs in the qualifying round.
Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim, with an undefeated 57 and opener Mohammad Naim, who hit 62, starred for Bangladesh in the Super 12 game after being put into bat. Asalanka made his runs from 49 balls, hitting five fours and five sixes as he and Rajapaksa put on 86 for the fourth wicket. Both men were dropped by Liton Das with Rajapaksa reprieved after he had made only 14.
The lone bright spot for Bangladesh in the field was the two wickets in four balls by Shakib Al Hasan to dismiss Pathum Nissanka and Aviskha Fernando. That allowed the veteran all-rounder go to 41 wickets, surpassing Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi for most victims in T20 World Cups. Bangladesh had made 40 by the sixth over before they lost their first wicket and the sparks flew.
Liton Das (16) was caught by Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka at mid-off trying to hoist Lahiru Kumara into the outfield. However, Liton and Kumara then exchanged angry words with fellow Bangladesh opener Naim pushing away Kumara. Both umpires had to intervene before the game continued. Kumara went on to bowl a ‘beamer’, clocked at over 140kmh, at Mushfiqur in the penultimate over, forcing the Bangladesh player to take evasive action.
Naim made 62 from 52 balls before he was eventually dismissed in the 17th over, caught and bowled by Binura Fernando. Naim and Mushfiqur Rahim put on 73 for the third wicket as Bangladesh upped the pace. The classy Mushfiqur reached his sixth T20 international half century off 32 balls with four fours and two sixes. Sri Lanka were without key spinner Maheesh Theekshana who had claimed eight wickets in three qualifying matches as Sri Lanka swept into the Super 12 stage. The 21-year-old had been suffering with a back injury. – AFP