New Delhi: A record-breaking 100-plus opening stand between openers Mohammad Rizwan (79*) and skipper Babar Azam (68*) powered Pakistan to an emphatic 10 wicket win over India on Sunday in their opening game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Dubai. Pakistan today outclassed their opponents in batting, bowling and fielding to break their 12-0 losing streak across 50-overs and 20-overs World Cups against the Men in Blue. For the first time ever, India lost a T20I by 10 wickets and Pakistan won a T20I by 10 wickets. The unbeaten 152-run partnership between Azam and Rizwan is the highest partnership for Pakistan against India for any wicket in T20Is.
Earlier, a captain’s knock from Virat Kohli (49-ball 57) and his fifty-run partnership with Rishabh Pant (30-ball 39) propelled India to 151/7 after Shaheen Afridi (31/3) rocked the Indian top-order to help Pakistan get off to a dream start. India lost wickets of both openers Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav inside the powerplay.
Shaheen Afridi made one of the hottest debuts in the history of T20 World Cups by jolting the Indian batting lineup completely after Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl first. The rampant Shaheen first trapped in-form Rohit Sharma in front of the wickets for LBW out. Rohit walked back to the dressing room with a first-ball duck in a match in which he was expected to shine, considering his batting stats against Pakistan in WC matches.
Soon after, in Shaheen’s second over, KL Rahul was left bamboozled from a fiery fullish delivery as he then followed Rohit Sharma back into the hut. Both Indian openers fell inside the first three overs.
Hasan Ali further dented India as he dismissed young talent Suryakumar Yadav, after a promising start, was the next in the line back to the pavilion. Pakistan rocked India as the Men in Blue were left reeling after losing three top-order batsmen inside the powerplay overs.
India’s hopes now were pinned on Rishabh Pant and skipper Kohli. The duo scored some runs to help India reach 50 before the first 10 overs. Halfway through the innings, India were 60/3.
A sudden shift of gear from Pant and his fifty run stand with Virat Kohli pulled India back into the match. The wicket-keeper batsman looked to up the ante but a mistimed slogish shot from him ended his knock after a hard-fought 39. Hardik Pandya and Jadeja contributed with a few runs. Pakistan restricted India to 151 in 20 overs.
After a gap of two years, fans tonight witnessed the clash of the Titans on a cricketing pitch. The last time India played against Pakistan was in the year 2019 during ICC Men’s 50-over World Cup.
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