Mohammad Rizwan from Pakistan plays a shot while Rishabh Pant from India watches. Photo / Getty
Captain Babar Azam led by example when Pakistan defeated India in a World Cup showdown for the first time ever with a 10-wicket romp in a Super 12 blockbuster at the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai.
Virat Kohli played a 57 captain’s knockout to save India from a first-class shatter and help them score a competitive 151-7 in a rematch of the 2007 inaugural final.
His counterpart Babar paired up with Mohammad Rizwan to give Pakistan a flying start and overpowered the goal with 13 balls left to break India’s 100% win record against them in limited-overs World Cups.
Babar didn’t stop at 68, while Rizwan made an unbeaten 79.
Wary of the dew factor, captains preferred to field and Babar followed suit after winning the toss.
Pakistan didn’t have to wait long for a breakthrough as Shaheen Afridi (3-31) struck twice in his first seven deliveries to rattle India.
The left-arm pacemaker fired in a blistering yorker-length throw to turn down Rohit Sharma lbw for a golden duck and, on his next over, shot one through the gate of KL Rahul to rearrange the stumps.
Suryakumar Yadav hit Afridi for a six, but Rizwan took a diving catch behind the stumps to sack the batter and reduce India to 31-3 in the sixth over.
Kohli and Rishabh Pant calmed the nerves in the Indian camp and led the team to 60-3 halfway through the innings.
Pant then decided to counter-attack and hit Hasan Ali for back-to-back sixes, but his ultra-aggression finally got him in.
Shadab Khan foxte Pant with a googly to persuade a skier who caught the spinner to fire the batsman for 39.
Kohli fell in the penultimate over of the innings while trying to accelerate, but India still made the 150 mark.
Pakistan, in their response, not only kept their wickets intact in the power playovers, but also scored solidly with Babar and Rizwan effectively finishing the match with their rock solid stance.
Babar brought out his fifty in style, hitting spinner Varun Chakravarthy for a six, while Rizwan reached his own fifty with a drawn line at Jasprit Bumrah.
Pakistan will play against New Zealand on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, in the other group, Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa shared a partnership of 86 to give Sri Lanka a five-wicket victory over Bangladesh in their opening match.
Asalanka went unbeaten on 80 from 49 balls – his first T20 international half-century – and Rajapaksa, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, hit a 31-ball 53 to help Sri Lanka chase a 172-run goal with seven balls left.
Bangladesh put 171 for four after opening batsman Mohammad Naim anchored the innings with a 52-ball 62 and veteran Mushfiqur Rahim hit an unbeaten 57 from 37 balls.
Bangladesh will play their next match against England on Wednesday, a day before Sri Lanka will face Australia.
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