MIRPUR, March 21 (PTI): India put up a thoroughly professional performance to thrash arch-rivals Pakistan by seven wickets in a one-sided opening group league encounter to launch their ICC World Twenty20 campaign in style, here today.
At a packed Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, the Indian spinners did a commendable job in restricting Pakistan to a modest 130 for seven after electing to bowl.
Chasing the target, the Indian batsmen sent the opposition bowlers on a leather hunt to canter home by seven wickets with nine balls to spare.
India thus maintained their clean slate against Pakistan in World Cup events as this is their fourth victory against the traditional foes in the marquee tournament of shortest versions.
Two in-form batsmen Virat Kohli (36 not out) and Suresh Raina (35 not out) made useful contributions as they added 66 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket to finish the match in style. Kohli hit four fours and a six during his 32-ball knock, while Raina�s runs came off 35 balls with equal number of boundaries and six.
The victory also was a sweet revenge for India�s last over loss against Pakistan at the same ground in the Asia Cup less than a month ago.
Today everything went right for the �Men In Blue� as they outbatted, outbowled and out-thought Pakistanis with Dhoni marshalling his resources really well.
After three quite overs, Rohit Sharma (24) decided to attack Junaid Khan as he cleared the short fine leg fielder for a boundary and slashed hard enough over point to get a six. The over got India 12 runs.
Not one to be left behind, Shikhar Dhawan (30), who had by then consumed 15 balls for his five, struck three boundaries. The first was muscled through square leg while the next was a tennis-bat like slap that went past the bowler and the third was a sweep behind square as another 12 runs came from the next over.
The 24 runs from the two overs got India on track and they didn�t have to look behind after that.
The shot of the match was Rohit lifting Umar Gul over long-on for a six. Their 50 partnership came off 46 balls after which Dhawan perished.
Dhawan was finally done in by a short delivery from Gul which he tried to hook and the resultant skier was taken at deep fine leg by Saeed Ajmal.
Dhawan�s dismissal sparked a mini-collapse as trying to cut one from Ajmal that turned sharply from outside Rohit played on to the stumps.
Yuvraj Singh (1) was bowled even before his feet had started moving. The skiddy Bilawal Bhatti got one right in the blockhole as Yuvraj saw his off-stump dislodged before he could bring his bat down.
At 65 for three, Raina and Kohli joined hands. Raina started with a spanking square cut off Bhatti and pulled the bowler in-front of square for another four.
In between Kohli picked up Ajmal to deposit him into the deep mid-wicket stand.
Earlier, Indian spinners performed admirably to restrict Pakistan to the modest total.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni�s decision to field three specialist spinners � Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin � and bowl first on a slowish track was vindicated as the trio gave away only 63 runs between them in the 12 overs and also removed three Pakistan batsmen, thereby putting brakes on their scoring rate.
Mishra (2/22), Jadeja (1/18) and Ashwin (0/23) all got a bit of help from the track which had a bit of bite and turn on offer.
While Ashwin bowled round the wicket to deny the batsmen any room to chance their arms, Jadeja bowled wicket to wicket with the odd delivery turning away from the right-hander. Mishra too was bang on target with his flighted leg breaks and varied the length of his deliveries and pace through the air.
Dhoni rotated his bowlers brilliantly not letting the opposition batsmen to get away easily, frequently changing the ends.
For Pakistan, only Umar Akmal looked good during his 30-ball 33-run knock but couldn�t go on to get a big score.
P a k i s t a n
K Akmal run out 8
A Shehzad st Dhoni b Mishra 22
M Hafeez c Kumar b Jadeja 15
U Akmal c Raina b Shami 33
S Malik c Raina b Mishra 18
S Afridi c Raina b Kumar 8
S Maqsood run out 21
B Bhatti not out 0
Extras: (LB-2 W-3) 5
Total: (For 7 wkts in 20 overs) 130
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-44, 3-47, 4-97, 5-103, 6-114, 7-130.
Bowling: R Ashwin 4-0-23-0, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-0-21-1, Mohammed Shami 4-0-31-1, Amit Mishra 4-1-22-2, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-18-1, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-13-0.
i n d i a
RG Sharma b Saeed Ajmal 24
S Dhawan c Saeed Ajmal b Umar Gul 30
V Kohli not out 36
Yuvraj Singh b Bilawal Bhatti 1
SK Raina not out 35
Extras: (w 5) 5 Total: (3 wickets; 18.3 overs) 131
Fall of wickets: 1-54, 2-64, 3-65.
Bowling: Mohammad Hafeez 3-0-14-0, Junaid Khan 3-0-23-0, Saeed Ajmal 4-0-18-1, Umar Gul 3.3-0-35-1, Shahid Afridi 3-0-24-0, Bilawal Bhatti 2-0-17-1.