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India hammer Pakistan by seven wickets in their World T20 opener

By Agency
23rd-Mar-2014       
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India kept their unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Cups intact as MS Dhoni & Co put up an all-round show to beat the archrivals by seven wickets in a one-sided match of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 at Mirpur.
The 2007 champions restricted Pakistan to a modest 130 for 7 in the match that opened the Super10 stage of the fifth edition of World T20. It was largely due to India's spin trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra, as Dhoni decided to go in with an extra spinner in place of Ajinkya Rahane.
The Indian tweakers got a lot of purchase from the wicket and weren't easy for the Pakistan batsmen to get away, especially towards the back end of the innings. Mishra led the way with figures of 2 for 22, followed by Jadeja who took 1 for 18. Ashwin was economical at 0 for 23.
Shikhar Dhawan (30) and Rohit Sharma (24) then provided a solid 54-run foundation to set up the run-chase. Pakistan, however, threatened to make a comeback when they removed Dhawan, Rohit and Yuvraj Singh (1) in the space of 11 runs to restrict India to 65 for 3 in the 11th over.
Dhawan and Rohit began cautiously but then picked up the scoring rate to get India off to a solid start. Dhawan was the first to depart after bringing up the fifty stand. He was dismissed by Gul. Rohit fell 10 runs later, bowled by Saeed Ajmal. Paceman Bilawal Bhatti made it three quick strikes when he bowled Yuvraj off the first ball of his spell.
However, Suresh Raina (35*) and Virat Kohli (36*) counter-attacked brilliantly to make Pakistan's total look poorer by at least 35 to 40 runs. They added 66 runs for the fourth wicket and remained unseparated to take India home with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, Dhoni won the toss and decided to bowl wary of the evening dew at Mirpur. Against the growing talks of Rahane as an opener, Dhoni benched the middle-order batsman for an extra bowler in the form of Mishra.
It paid rich dividends as Mishra opened his spell with a wicket maiden before coming back to break a threatening 50-run partnership between Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal. The leggie dismissed Malik for 18.
However, it was a run-out that gave India the first breakthrough, when a huge mix-up between openers Kamran Akmal (8) and Ahmed Shehzad saw the former getting run out off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's direct hit. A 35-run partnership between Shehzad and skipper Mohammad Hafeez followed, but it was ended by Jadeja who, like Mishra, struck in his first over to remove Hafeez for 15.
Shehzad (22) fell five balls later to give a concerned look to the scorecard at 47 for 3, after which Malik and Umar stitched a 50-run stand. But once that was broken, Pakistan lost their way and could never recover in the death overs.
A lot was expected of Afridi but he could score just 8, and it was only due to a late surge provided by Sohaib Maqsood (21 off 11 balls) that helped Pakistan touched 130.

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