New Delhi: It took Pakistan just 107 balls at no loss of wickets to break a 12-match World Cup jinx and humble India in Dubai Sunday.
Chasing India’s 152/7, Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, recorded a thumping win that saw the team sail to the target, and prove themselves the better team in every frame of the game. Azam and fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan were the stars of the match, scoring 68 and 79, respectively. Shaheen Shah Afridi was a delight to watch as he toppled three wickets at an economy rate of 7.75.
He sent Rohit Sharma packing for 0 (LBW) and K.L. Rahul for 3 (bowled).
Captain Virat Kohli, who scored 57, was the third wicket, with Rizwan catching Afridi’s delivery.
Pakistan’s first World Cup win against arch-rival India came in the maiden group-stage match for both sides in the ongoing ICC T20 Men’s World Cup.
Before Sunday, every time the two neighbouring countries faced each other on the cricket field during a World Cup contest, the Men in Green seemed to buckle under pressure.
But a new Pakistan was on show in Dubai, as the team scored the country’s first-ever T20I win by 10 wickets (and handed India their first 10-wicket defeat in a T20I).
From the get-go, every move by the Pakistani players was choreographed with precision.
Barring one moment of overthrow in the 19th over of the first innings, there was no offbeat from Pakistan.
Azam and Rizwan — the only two batsmen from their side to feature in the ICC T20 rankings — put on a stellar show, with the captain’s calmness proving the perfect complement to Rizwan’s bubbliness.
The 29-year-old wicket-keeper batsman could score 79* off 55, at a strike rate of 143.64 strike rate, with nine boundaries, only because his skipper on the other end kept his head steady, aware of the weight of expectations.
Same name, same number but a new era
Afridi is not a name that needs any introduction in world cricket, especially Pakistan cricket. Hundreds of records and victories have been created by a certain legend by the name of Shahid Afridi.
His achievements, talent and so much more is a story of another time. However, years later, it’s the same name that changed the course of the cricketing history of India and Pakistan.
Shaheen Afridi, 21, wears the No. 10 jersey, much like Shahid Afridi. However, the similarity ends here.
Three-19-2 including 10 dot balls — these were the bowling figures the young Afridi put on the board in his debut game against India. Just to put his talent in perspective, since his first T20I match in 2018, the southpaw has scalped a wicket in the first over 20 times in 61 innings.
After the shocking exit of Sharma, when Kohli came to the field, India had barely managed a run. He was sent to the pavilion when India stood at 133 with only four batsmen in the bank.
While Kohli was on the job, his teammates came, scored a two, four here and there and departed. He scored 57 off 49, giving his team much-needed momentum and boost.
The skipper also happens to have the most number of runs (3,159) in T20 cricket among the playing XI and the 15-member squad. In all his previous innings against Pakistan, he always managed to remain unbeaten till the end, until Afridi broke that streak.
Brief scores: India 151/7 (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39, Shaheen Afridi 3-21), Pakistan 152/0 (Babar Azam 68*, Mohammad Rizwan 79*, Jasprit Bumrah 0-22)
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)