Kolkata - Cool-headed Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten half century as India
cruised to a comfortable six-wicket victory over arch rivals Pakistan at
Kolkata's Eden Gardens in the World Twenty20 Saturday.
favourites India put their campaign back on track after suffering a
shock loss against New Zealand in the tournament opener, extending their
jinx in major tournaments against Pakistan.
Chasing 119 on a
track that seemed dual-paced, India lost their top three batsmen early
only to see Kohli and Yuvraj Singh put together a 61-run, fourth-wicket
partnership to help the hosts canter home in 15.5 overs in a game
reduced to 18 overs a side because of rain.
Kohli (55 not out) and
Yuvraj combined caution and aggression to blunt the Pakistan bowling
attack, which seemed to miss left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, who made way
for Mohammad Sami.
Sami did make an impression by sending back
Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina in his opening over to be on hat-trick
but Pakistan's four-pronged pace attack had no answers to Kohli's
Yuvraj (24) fell to Wahab Riaz, but Kohli, who was joined
by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the finale, was in cruise control
as his 37-ball knock was laced by seven boundaries and a six.
(13 not out) swiftly joined the party as he hit a six to level the
scores and then hit the winning runs in front of a raucous crowd.
Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik played useful cameos to guide Pakistan
to 118 for five, a score which looked competitive on a tricky surface.
in to bat on a moisture-laden pitch that saw heavy rains through the
day, Pakistan openers Sharjeel Khan (17) and Shehzad (25) played
cautiously at first and then lost their wickets as they tried to
Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina
looked dangerous in their opening spells on a track that provided turn
and bounce, but the Pakistan batsmen did well to show patience.
from his match-winning exploits against Bangladesh, skipper Shahid
Afridi (8) promoted himself to number three but the boom was missing
from his shots this time around.
The hard-hitting batsman could
only find a single boundary in his scratchy 14-ball stay as he walked
back amid loud cheers from the capacity crowd.
Umar Akmal and
Shoaib Malik then stitched together a crucial 41-run stand that helped
Pakistan put up what seemed a respectable score.
Akmal (22), whose 16-ball knock was studded with a boundary and a six, was caught behind off Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin.
top-scorer Malik (26), who hit three boundaries and a six in his 26-run
innings, soon joined Akmal in the dug-out after trying to force Ashish
Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Hafeez finished off the innings as Pakistan got seven off the last over.
But Pakistan's efforts were negated by Kohli who deservedly got the man of the match award.
India next play Bangladesh in Bangalore on Wednesday, while Pakistan head to Mohali to meet New Zealand on Tuesday.