India v Pakistan, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur February 27, 2016

Kohli wins it for India after Amir storm


India 85 for 5 (Kohli 49, Amir 3-18) beat Pakistan 83 (Pandya 3-8, Jadeja 2-11) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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There is a bar for international batsmen and with Pakistan it is never quite certain which way they will push it. There is never a shortage of spectacle when they play and that box was at least ticked in Mirpur. Pakistan crumbled to 83 all out in 17.3 overs - their lowest ever score in T20Is after batting first. There is a bar for international bowlers too and Pakistan have been vaulting over it for years. Mohammad Amir, playing his sixth international limited-overs match in nearly as many years, turned up like he hadn't missed a beat. He took out Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane for ducks in the first over of the chase, and a low-scoring game that had threatened to be one-sided was given the thrill India-Pakistan cricket is known for. But Virat Kohli's class and technique prevailed in the end and India held on for a five-wicket win.

Rohit, who had stood a class apart on a similarly challenging pitch on Wednesday, was beaten for pace and prodigious inswing before he even had his bearings set. The first ball, a yorker, may well have burned a hole through his boot and crashed into off stump. Amir could not have sounded his warning any clearer or louder but his leg-before appeal was turned down.

So he pulled his length back but kept the inswing going. Rohit was rapped on the pads again and this time there was no doubt. Rahane, coming as a late replacement as Shikhar Dhawan rested a niggle, saw a wide down leg before he too could not handle the ball bending back into him at over 140 kph and was trapped in front. Suresh Raina popped a catch to mid-on in Amir's next over and India were 8 for 3.

Kohli persevered amid the carnage, deflecting the memory of an inswinger that nearly had him lbw and an edge that flew over the slip cordon. Both were off Amir's bowling, but his full quota was all done by the seventh over. After that sensational spell of 4-0-18-3, India gained the breathing room they needed and Kohli's 49 off 51 balls secured a fifth T20I win in six matches in the lead up to the World T20.

As taxing as India's batsmen had it, it was hard not to think about their bowlers. MS Dhoni had won the toss and handed them first use of a green-tinged pitch. Ashish Nehra began in vintage fashion, moving the ball across the right-hander and getting it to bounce more than expected. A surprised Mohammad Hafeez nicked the fourth ball of the match through to the wicketkeeper.

At the other end, Jasprit Bumrah's natural bustle into the crease had the same effect but he was bringing the ball into the right-handers. Khurram Manzoor's pads weathered a lot of impact as he came in at No. 3 and played out a maiden over on his T20I debut. Sharjeel Khan was undone by Bumrah's offcutter in the fourth over and India's discipline was bearing the sweetest fruit.

India's pacers did most of the damage early on to set up the win © Associated Press

Then it created a spectacular chaos. Shoaib Malik poked a shortish delivery into the covers and took a few steps down, looking for a single. A non-existent one because Kohli had swooped down on the ball with great agility. It made Malik rethink his decision and then change it but it was too late. Manzoor was barely in the frame when the direct hit found the non-striker's end. To complete the ineptness of that little passage of play from Pakistan, Manzoor had lost his bat in the frantic hurry to turn around and save himself. Seven balls later, Malik chased one outside off from Hardik Pandya and nicked it behind. It was the first of three wickets for a man known more as a batting allrounder.

Yuvraj Singh surprisingly came in to bowl the first over of spin, ahead of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. His first ball was angled in at Umar Akmal, who played for turn and was trapped lbw and Pakistan were 35 for 5 in the eighth over.

As if to cap a spell of self-destructive batting, there was another silly run-out. Shahid Afridi, whose experience spans nearly 20 years in international cricket, went for an ambitious second run to deep square leg taking on India's quickest man across the turf and the strongest arm, of Ravindra Jadeja. The pick up was one-handed and the throw was barely a parabola. Like a sniper's shot, it travelled along a near straight line and ended up a few centimeters away from the stumps and Dhoni made up the distance. Pakistan finished the eighth over at 42 for 6, the lower order just about doubled that. But it just wasn't enough.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohammed on March 1, 2016, 9:03 GMT

    @ANANSARI what ever line up either your bowling or our batting, ask your team to win against us atleast 2 out of 5 matches

  • AN on March 1, 2016, 7:40 GMT

    No doubt Indian has world class batting line up, on the other hand Pakistani Bowling line is best in the world. After 3 over Pakistan was 3/32 but world class India 3/8 including 2 world class at duck. How beautiful this match would be if umpire give the right decision of Virat Kohli LBW at 0, what happened with Indian batting line up after this out. One wrong decision will definitely change the whole match. If world class batting scattered in just one over, you can imagine how class of bowling it was?

  • Sammy on February 29, 2016, 17:33 GMT

    @Warlock - It does not matter what pitch India plays on - They always win against Pakistan. The World Cups played in all continents since the 1990's are proof enough. Wahab was hyped to the sky after his spell against Watson, who was completely out of form in the last WC. After being tonked by India in the T20 game, he is out of the team already.

  •   Ruchit Khushu on February 29, 2016, 15:41 GMT

    @WARLOCK786: I assume you are Pakistani cricket fan.. Infact it is quite obvious from your comments .. So a Pakistani fan telling Indian fan that he/she doesn't watch Indian cricket is a joke .. Secondly I never termed Dhawan in the same class. Read carefully before your respond.. Thirdly this is a wishful thinking that India just depends on Kohli .You don't have an idea of what depth India has as far batting is concerned in 1st class cricket.. We will always be able to replace a Kohli by say an Iyer or a Nair.. Fourthly I used the word class..not consistent performer.. Class wise Kohli,Rahane and Rohit are the almost the same.. Kohli is just a better performer in limited overs cricket.. Finally Pakistan is 17/3

  • Ashok on February 29, 2016, 14:42 GMT

    WARLOCK786: I agree that Kohli is currently the best Indian batsman. Like you, I always said that Indian openers are hugely deficient facing genuine fast bowlers or good spinners on a spicy pitch. The Pakistani pace bowlers were all hitting 150 KPH but Amir was also inswinging + bowling at the right spots. It ended up Kohli Vs. Amir battle. Kohli carried India from 8 for 3 to a victory with brilliant display of stroke play all round the wkts with superb timing before he fell to an atrocious umpiring decision. Kohli made Yuvraj look like a novice- just surviving! India needs a specialist batsman @#4- Not Raina or Yuvraj- someone like Manish Pandey or Rahane or Iyer, who can bat. That is one change I have been preaching because India batting right now is heavily dependent on Kohli , especially on spicy pitches. Otherwise this Indian team is a strong contender for the T20 WC.

  • Mohammad on February 29, 2016, 11:23 GMT

    @Ruchit Khushu Kohli in the same class as Dhawan and Sharma ? Do you even watch India play ? Kohli towers over them like a Giant not bothered with their presence. He is the greatest Batsman India has ever produced in ODI's, his record is already better than Sachin. He single handedly defeats Pakistan, the Indian team of this age is not very different from the team of the early 90's and before, 1 Man show and that's the great Virat. Rohit Sharma and Raina were seeing stars when Aamer was bowling, the only one who stood up to him was Virat. If you remove Kohli from your team I promise you India will tumble down the rankings so fast ti will make their head spin. Rohit and Dhawan have in recent times become very inconsistent and Rohit still has the flat track bully reputation. Rahane is probably better than both !

  • Mohammad on February 29, 2016, 11:18 GMT

    @JohnPiyush Dream on Aamir ? Why not ? He is a great bowler ! You claim to have seen many bowlers like Aamir ? Where ? Also Shoaib was a competitive bowler throughout his career, he came in with a bang and lived up to his reputation, that of fearsome pace, Tanveer was never hyped by Pakistan neither was Wahab, but he did bowl a few good spells. We do not generally hype our players, we leave that to the Indian Media and the IPL, masters of hype I have to say ! Also please dont give the one match example to Pakistani bowlers, this happens with Indian bowlers i.e. Irfan Pathan, B. Kumar, M. Shami, youhyped them and where are they now ? Not with Pakistani bowlers. Please lets be respectful @G. Narisimha I have not stated Sachin or Sehwag never scored outside the SC, we all gain some advantage of disadvantage from a pitch, lets not make excuses just because someone performed well. If this pitch helped Aamir the next dead pitch with help you, you wont hear us complaining then.

  • irfan on February 29, 2016, 10:58 GMT

    2 good batsman,2 decent batsman..if they can get that pakistan will become tough team to beat to...atm it remains as far from reality..

  • Rahul on February 29, 2016, 8:38 GMT

    I have read all comments and post by the cricket lovers here...Sad to see and hear people not even knowing and having knowledge comment about Yuvi and Raina...they think a Manish Pandey or Shreyas Iyer can do a bang bang. This match was about skill and experience and this is what Yuvi brings to the table. His bowling is an added advantage. He took the crucial wicket of Umar Akhmal. There was hostile spell going from one end by Amir. Yuvi whether ed the storm. Another wicket there would have exposed the lower order. Even Hardik got out for a duck. He calmly put his head down and let Virat do the talking. This is how a team game is played. Do you all criticizers think Yuvi cant hit a six or four. Refresh your memories please in last T20 at Sydney. Cricket is played as per situation and he did best what was required. We all can comment about this but team management and selectors know why is again selected. Yuvi will come good when required and I think thats the only way to answer.

  • joy on February 29, 2016, 7:44 GMT

    Please donot dream on Amir.we have seen so many Amir bowlers..1st match will be like super good.super Akhtar,Tanveer,wahab Riyaz... but it only happens once in a blue moon. So time he will b shown his place. Only thing Pakistan had positive was Amir.You cannot expect the same performance everytime. India is a legendary team.Initially Indian batsman was unable to read/study/Understand Amir..since it all happened quickly.u need some time on the crease to read him..hense it went normal on 3rd & 4th. Just like our own kid buvanesh kumar. Next me.

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