India were 10 to 15 runs short of a "safe" total against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 international, according to their captain MS Dhoni. India's openers put on 77 runs inside 11 overs to give the hosts a solid base but Pakistan struck regularly after that, as India collapsed to finish on 133 for 9.
"We should have got more runs," Dhoni said. "We got a fantastic start from the openers but we couldn't capitalise. We lost regular wickets and that hurt us. We should have got 10-15 runs more, 145 would have been a safe score."
India began superbly with the ball as the debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up three wickets but fifties from the Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik set the platform for the visitors' five-wicket win. India's quick bowlers picked up all five Pakistan wickets to fall, but the part-time bowlers conceded 75 runs in 7.4 overs as Malik's six off Ravindra Jadeja in the final over ended the game. Dhoni used up his fast bowlers by the 19th over, and had to bring on Jadeja for the 20th.
"It was a gamble to finish the pacers early," Dhoni said. "Malik and Hafeez were going well so we needed wickets. They were also going at a very fast pace so we had to take a gamble. The pacers did well, they left 10 runs for the last over which I thought was good."
Malik said Pakistan were struggling when Bhuvneshwar struck early but credited Hafeez for playing a "brilliant innings." Hafeez said once the India spinners came on, Pakistan knew they had a chance. He also praised his bowlers for bringing Pakistan back into the game.
"We wanted to do well at the start of the series," Hafeez said. "[Mohammad] Irfan was the surprise package for us and everybody. We knew we had a good attack. We knew that [Umar] Gul is always good with the old ball. They restricted India where we wanted them to. Once the [India] spinners came on after the new ball, we knew we had a chance, we took a risk at the right time and it worked. It is a gift for the whole nation. It is Quaid day back home."