Virat Kohli (57 off 49 balls) and Rishabh Pant (39 off 30 balls) were instrumental in carrying India to 151/7 in 20 overs against archrivals Pakistan in their opening match of Super 12 in of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday. Kohli and Pant led the recovery for India after Pakistan reduced them to 36/3 in power-play.
Inserted into batting first, India lost openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the first 13 balls of the innings to Shaheen Shah Afridi. While Sharma was trapped plumb in front of the wicket by a yorker, Rahul was undone by a fast inswinger going through the gate to hit the stumps. Suryakumar Yadav hit a six off Afridi and swept Imad Wasim for four. But his promising stay at the crease ended when he was snapped by keeper Mohammad Rizwan diving to his right to catch the poke off Hasan Ali in the final over of power-play.
Kohli and Pant led the rebuilding job for India with a stand of 53 off 40 balls for the fourth wicket. Pant was the more aggressive of the two, cutting and swiping off the spinners Shadab Khan and Mohammad Hafeez followed by carting Ali for back-to-back one-handed sixes over square leg and long-off. But in the 13th over, Pant top-edged a slog, which was caught by Khan off his own bowling.
After Pant fell, Kohli stepped up and took four boundaries off Haris Rauf and Ali en route to his half-century. Ravindra Jadeja swatted Ali over fine leg. But on the next ball, Jadeja was foxed by a slower delivery, holing out to deep mid-wicket. Afridi returned for his final over to take out Kohli with a slower bouncer, the Indian skipper top-edging behind. Rauf took out Pandya in the final over, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami ensured that India crossed the 150-mark.
Brief scores: India 151/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39, Shaheen Afridi 3/31, Hasan Ali 2/44) against Pakistan