Sports Magazine

Pakistan Held Nerves to Clinch Thriller

By Azharnadeem

Mohammad HafeezSkipper Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik slammed majestic half-centuries as Pakistan crushed India by seven wickets in the thrilling first T20 international M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on Tuesday to claim 1-0 lead in two-match series.

Hafeez (61 off 41) and Malik () shared a blistering 106-run stand for the fourth wicket as Pakistan recovered from 3-12 to overhaul the 133-run target with two balls to spare.

Malik smacked a hefty blow off Ravindra Jadeja over the rope on the fourth delivery of final over to seal the win for Pakistan.

After debutant pacer blew away Pakistan top-order by removing Nasir Jamshed (2), Ahmed Shehzad (5) and Ahmed Shehzad (0) cheaply, Hafeez and Malik launched a strong recovery and took the hosts into comfort zone.

Initially they took time to settle down but after building the momentum, they ragged the Indian bowling attack with the flamboyant shots and plundered runs from all corners of the park.

The brilliant century partnership ended with the dismissal of Hafeez, who hit half-dozen boundaries and two sixes before being caught by Bhuvneshwar off pacer Ishant Sharma in the eighteenth over.

Skipper’s left the contest even and tensions mounted when seamer Ashok Dinda scalped Kamran Akmal for 6-ball 1.

However Malik continued the anticipation towards target in the company of Shahid Afridi (3) and coasted Pakistan’s ship.

Earlier, despite of getting a traffic opening stand from Gautam Gambhir (43 off 41) and Ajinkya Rahane (42 off 31) India suffered a sensational collapse as they were restricted for a modest total of 133-9.

After Hafeez put the hosts to bat, Gambhir and Rahane got the hosts off to a flamboyant start and propelled the total to 77-0 before Afridi scalped letter, who hit five boundaries and six, to give Pakistan the first breakthrough.

Gambhir’s run-out in the next over sparked collapse in Indian batting line as their next seven wickets fell for just 43 runs. The other batsmen who managed to reach double-digits were Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, who contributed 10 runs apiece.

Pacer Umar Gul was the pick of Pakistani bowling with the figures of 3-21. Saeed Ajmal finished with 2-25.

The second and final T20 between the two sides is scheduled in Ahmedabad on Friday.

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