India v Pakistan, 1st T20, Bangalore December 25, 2012

Malik and Hafeez guide Pakistan to victory


Pakistan 134 for 5 (Hafeez 61, Malik 57*) beat India 133 for 9 (Gambhir 43, Rahane 42, Gul 3-21) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Two of Pakistan's experienced hands guided them to victory in their first game in almost three months, and their first bilateral tour of India in five years. An early burst from debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who began his international career with a fabulous display of swing bowling, rattled the Pakistan top order but the calm presence of Mohammad Hafeez and some enterprising batting from Shoaib Malik put a chase of 134 back on track.

Pakistan had another scare at the death, losing two in quick time when victory appeared secure, but Malik ultimately saw them through in the final over, sealing the game with a six. The hosts were a specialist bowler short, as the Pakistan pair targeted the non-regulars, but a more significant factor in India's loss was their implosion with the bat, when they lost nine wickets for 47 runs in 46 balls.

A 36,000-strong crowd had been silenced during an impressive display of bowling backed up by some excellent ground fielding that had helped Pakistan fight back after India's openers had laid a strong foundation in an attractive stand of 77 in under 11 overs. The decibel levels at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, however, hit their peak when Bhuvneshwar swung it this way and that, setting up two of this three victims with outswingers before nipping one back in to dismantle the stumps. At 12 for 3, Pakistan were reeling; their rebuilding was steady, and resulted in 24 boundary-less deliveries, but Hafeez and Malik pounced in at the right time.

Virat Kohli was one of the part-timers used by India, and Hafeez slogged him for two boundaries in the 11th over, at the start of which the required-rate had hit almost nine an over. Yuvraj Singh dragged the ball too short on occasion and was heaved for two sixes by the pair and they each stepped out to Ravindra Jadeja to dispatch him for maximums over his head.

The return of India's seamers didn't immediately check Pakistan, as the equation was brought down to 16 off the last three overs, but Ishant Sharma dismissed Hafeez and conceded just two in an over in which he had Malik caught off a no-ball for height. Ashok Dinda was given the penultimate over and he left Pakistan needing 10 off the last, which Malik helped achieve with a straight six off a Jadeja length delivery to win with two balls to spare.

Ajinkya Rahane's supreme timing was the feature of India's opening partnership, as he lofted Pakistan's bowlers over extra cover effortlessly, though they hit back after he fell upper-cutting to third man. Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were the architects of that comeback, after being struck for sixes in their respective opening overs. Gul was smashed over midwicket by Gambhir, but had Yuvraj Singh caught in the deep off a slower ball in his new spell before removing two in two towards the death. Ajmal was carted over extra cover by Rahane, but returned to dismiss MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina with quicker deliveries at a time when India would have backed themselves to reach a score of around or above 150.

Gambhir had started picking up the pace but was caught short of the crease when attempting a second run in the 13th over. Sohail Tanvir returned a throw on the half-volley to Kamran Akmal, who collected well and dislodged the stumps. Kohli and Yuvraj began well but fell trying to heave the seamers over square leg - left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan got rid of Kohli to bag his first international wicket.

Ajmal's tricks against Dhoni and Raina, and the early run-out of Rohit Sharma, sent back by a direct hit from the deep, transformed India's game from one aimed at an aggressive charge to mere survival. India scored just one boundary in the last six overs, their early advantage was squandered and not even a dream debut that produced a spell of 4-0-9-3 could restore it completely.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Great game of cricket. Both teams played well. India a slightly better side, but Pakistan have two inings of 50+ and India have two innings of 40+. That was the difference between two sides.

  • Wahab on December 27, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    A fabulous game between two cricket crazy nations! Two new talents came on the stream line ( Muhammad Irfan and Kumar). I am sure people of both countries are eager to watch next match and want to see both bowlers in action. I really have to admire the way Hafeez and Malik batted, they were extremely patient when kumar was in action and amazingly quick when indian part timers were tried.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    same team pak for ODI,s also....No need for misbah to come in and occoupy the crease for more than 90 deliveries to score 44 runs,.....

    PAK ODI Squad..

    1=Nasir 2=hafeez 3=Azhar ALi 4=Umar Akmal 5=Shoaib Malik 6=Umar AMin 7=Shahid Afridi 8=Kamran Akmal 9=Umar Gull 10=M irfan 11=Saeed Ajmal

    I promise you that this team will beat india surely in ODI....but if you replace malik or afridi with mibah pak will loose definately

    and one more thing misbah is almost 40 years now and not usefull for worldcup 2015 plz throw him out and get some one like umar amin or waqas ali in a new left handed middle order.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    These useless t20,s should not be played at all, however i am happy ,that one bowler ,who is of a caliber to produce chin music in tests ,it would be great to see his bowling in SA upcoming tour, mohammad irfan should know concerate on line and length as bounce and pace is always there. Good world needs these cricketers, i really appericiate chin music producing bowlers ,but hate these t20 cricket.

  • Subramani on December 27, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who looks a right hand version of R P Singh in his pomp, showed the selectors that there is talent waiting to be uncovered. The doomsday prophets which includes even someone like Dilip Vengsarkar, have been trying tto convince us that the cupboard is empty. If the Selectors were to look seriously, they will find many young players who can make it big if they are given chances at a young age in one or the other format of the game. Shami Ahmed, A S Rajpoot and Ishwar Panday, all pace bowlers must be tried out at the earliest so that there is no over-dependence on one worthy or a group of them when they are not fully fit. Similarly there are a few good batsmen, wicketkeepers and spin bowlers who just have to be given their opportunities. Afetr all they need just 11 players to play in the team. If there are about 50 players who can be listed selections can be made for specific formats based on the strengths and eaknesses of individual players.

  • Raj on December 27, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Why DK is overlooked for year after years. Why RG given N number of chances.

  • Imran on December 26, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    There were 2 main strategic blunders by dhoni & Co 1-they thought that Pakistan bowling is very strong so they packed their batting line up with 8 batsmen. 2- the other way round,they thought that Pakistan batting is very weak so they included only 3 front line bowlers (one of the was a debutant allrounder) It is also a matter of fact that india has not a single bowler of the class of Saeed Ajmal, Gul, Irfan, Afridi and even hafeez and tanveer similarly Pakistan batting lacks the class of kohli, Yuvraj, dhoni, rehane but despite of that Pakistan managed to with this match

  • Punjin on December 26, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    A win is a win and Pakistan played better. I did not get to see replays of no ball called, little that i saw it showed batsman jumping to play shot.. which makes it a bad call. I hope to find replays to make a judgement for my own satisfaction.. He played the shot.. di'nt he?

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Irfan is not the only class new fast bowler . We have sadaf hussain muhammad talha imran khan and ehsan adil . Watch out for them . If they all get chNCE we ll forget asif amir and shoaib .

  • Muzammil on December 26, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Every time when Pakistan tours India, I always noted biased coverage of tv cameras. EVERYBODY will agree that NOT EVEN a single time the cameramen put the camera on the 3000 Pakistani spectators who traveled from Pakistan to India.

    This always happened in past too. I remember that in 1999 when Pakistan won the triangular series in India, beating India in final. After the match, the Pakistani team when towards the stand where Pakistani spectators where there and thanks them bu raising their hands. EVEN THEN tv cameras did not put camera on them and we were able to listen just the noise of Pakistani supports.