Pakistan completed a 10-wicket rout to win the first game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup against India on Sunday night at the Dubai International Stadium.
This is the first time since the inception of the game that Pakistan have beaten India at any World Cup.
Babar Azam and co chased the 152-run target without losing a wicket and with 13 balls to spare.
India were coming into the contest after a strong IPL season in the UAE, including several games at the same venue, but the Men in Green had other plans.
Pakistan were, however, coming off from a rather disappointing series of events with New Zealand and England’s team pulling out of the tours at the eleventh hour.
Nonetheless, Kohli has assured that India will not press the “panic button” just yet.
Shaheen shines in Dubai
Shaheen Shah Afridi ran riot on India’s top-order.
The left-arm pace sensation first dismissed Rohit Sharma on a first-ball duck, then uprooted KL Rahul’s middle stump in his second over of the opening spell.
Just when India captain Virat Kohli was looking to go ballistic, he dismissed him as well.
The 21-year-old ended the game with 3/31 that earned him the Man of the Match award.
After the thrilling contest, Afridi said that he was trying to swing the new ball from the start to trouble the batters.
“My idea was to get as much swing as possible. You don’t get a lot here, but I wanted to get those breakthroughs and gave it 100%,” he said.
Afridi was over the moon for featuring in Pakistan’s first-ever win over Kohli’s men in the World Cups.
“This is the first time we’ve beaten India and I feel proud. I knew it would be good for us if I got early wickets and that worked out,” he continued.
Rizwan, Babar thump assert domination
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam did what they’ve been doing throughout the year.
Both played in the gaps, targeted specific bowlers, and never let the run-rate climb up to a point it was not in their grasp.
Rizwan went after Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the very first over, smacking a four and six.
He was ballistic in the first six overs before Azam took charge in the middle overs.
Their combination was too much to handle for the Indian pace cartel.
Kohli deployed Varun Chakravarthy and Ravi Jadeja early in the attack, but there was nothing they could do either.
Babar’s 68* and Rizwan’s 79* meant that Fakhar Zaman and Muhammad Hafeez could stay in their slippers and not worry about coming out to bat.
The Pakistan captain said that he and his opening partner never tried to complex the equation.
“The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely,” Azam said.
“The pressure on us wasn’t that much – we weren’t thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who’ve been preparing well.”
“When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that.”
Pakistan 152 for 0 (Rizwan 79*, Babar 68*) beat India 151 for 7 (Kohli 57, Afridi 3-31) by ten wickets.