Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam plays a shot during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 24, 2021.
Indranil Mukherjee | AFP | Getty Images
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan scored fluent fifties after Shaheen Afridi starred with the new ball as Pakistan thumped India by 10 wickets to record their first World Cup win over their rivals at the 13th attempt.
Pakistan had lost all 12 of their previous World Cup matches against India, with seven defeats in the 50-over competition and five losses in the 20-over version, including in the inaugural T20 final back in 2007.
That barren run was snapped in style on Sunday, with skipper Babar (68no off 52 balls) and Rizwan (79no off 55) putting on an unbroken 152 – their fourth century stand in T20 internationals this year – as the 2009 champions topped India’s 151-7 with 13 balls to spare in Dubai.
Left-arm quick Shaheen (3-31) had earlier struck twice inside the first three overs before returning later on to dismiss Virat Kohli (57 off 49), whose pre-tournament favourites were humbled by their Group 2 rivals.
Shaheen gave Pakistan a dream start, pinning Rohit Sharma (0) lbw for a golden duck in his first over and then bowling KL Rahul (3) with a quick nip-backer in his third as India tumbled to 6-2 after being inserted.
That became 31-3 when Suryakumar Yadav (11) edged Hasan Ali behind while attempting a back-foot punch and Pakistan wicketkeeper Rizwan leapt to his right to claim a fine catch.
India’s innings was revived by Rishabh Pant (39 off 30) and Kohli’s 53-run stand – Pant the dominant force in it, hitting two sixes with one hand off the bat before he slog-swept back to bowler Shadab Khan (1-22).
Kohli, who had earlier clubbed Shaheen for a masterful six over long-on, completed a 45-ball, 29th T20I fifty while bossing a 41-run alliance with Ravindra Jadeja (13 off 13) for the fifth wicket.
Kohli was eventually dismissed for the first time by Pakistan in a T20 World Cup when he edged Shaheen’s slower-ball bouncer behind on the pull in the penultimate over.
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Shaheen’s over went wrong after that, going for 17 in total, as Hardik Pandya (11 off 8) carved a no-ball full toss for four and then, from the resulting free hit, Shaheen missed with his shy at the non-striker’s stumps and watched on as the ball scuttled away to the boundary.
Haris Rauf (1-25) clawed things back with a seven-run final over, which included Pandya’s wicket, before Babar and Rizwan gave Pakistan a steady start to the chase, nailing their fifty partnership in the eighth over.
Pakistan were going at around 6.50 runs an over at that stage but then accelerated with the 13th over, bowled by leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy, seeing a six apiece from Babar and Rizwan.
Babar’s six off Chakravarthy took him to a 40-ball, 21st T20 international fifty, while Rizwan clinched his ninth from 41 deliveries when he pulled Jasprit Bumrah for four in the 15th over.
Rizwan began Mohammed Shami’s 18th over with a six and two fours, before Babar sealed his team’s thumping victory with a scampered two to long-on as Pakistan inflicted a first 10-wicket T20I defeat on India.
Which players starred?
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan — Babar and Rizwan were already having good days at the halfway stage, with the former captaining well and the latter taking a brilliant diving catch. Their evenings only got better in the second innings as they made light work of India’s total.
Rizwan’s knock, which featured three sixes and six fours, was his ninth fifty-plus score in T20 internationals in 2021. He is averaging over 100 in this format this calendar year, with no one having hit more than his 831 runs in that time. His nearest challenger? That would be Babar (591 runs).
Dawid Malan may be ranked No 1 among T20I batsmen but it is difficult to argue that Babar is not the best batter around in this format, with his innings against India, in which he managed two sixes and six fours, showing all his finesse and no little muscle either.
Shaheen Shah Afridi — quick, skilful, devastating. Shaheen sent Pakistan’s fans wild when his full ball tailed in and trapped Rohit plumb in front for a golden duck and he then castled Rahul in his follow-up over as the India opener played across the line. Shaheen returned late on for his fourth and final over, in which he dismissed Kohli and nearly got Pandya, too, as the latter was hurried by a short ball and ballooned into the air.
Virat Kohli — you run out of superlatives for him. His six off Shaheen was sublime but a couple of coruscating extra-cover drives went for four, Kohli caressing them to the fence with no element of over-hitting. You can’t say Pant never overhits but, boy, is he fun to watch! Aside from those one-handed sixes, he also cut Mohammad Hafeez beautifully for four from on top of his stumps to show he has poise as well as power.
Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf — these two backed up Shaheen beautifully, going at just 5.50 and 6.25 runs an over respectively. Leg-spinner Shadab kept things tight in the middle overs, while fast bowler Rauf’s 17 and 20th overs went for a combined 11 as he mixed his pace well.
Pakistan are back in action against New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday (2.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket). New Zealand are also India’s next opponents but that clash, in Dubai, does not come until Sunday (1.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket) with Virat Kohli’s side having a lengthy break between matches.
Monday’s sole encounter is the Group 2 game between Scotland and Afghanistan (2.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket). Scotland are in red-hot form having won all three of their matches in round one to advance to the Super 12 for the first time in their history and will be confident of making that four victories from four when they meet Mohammad Nabi’s men in Sharjah.
Watch the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, in the United Arab Emirates, live on Sky Sports Cricket between now and November 14.