Right from winning the toss, Pakistan executed its plans to perfection and dominated India in all facets of the game. Led by its inspirational captain, Babar Azam, the former champion chased down a tricky score of 152 with consummate ease with all its wickets remaining intact and 13 balls to spare. Such was the dominance Azam and his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan displayed that the formidable Indian bowling ran out of ideas on how to separate the pair. Azam remained unbeaten on 68 (52b, 6x4, 2x6) and Rizwan played an equally entertaining knock of 79 (55b, 6x4, 3x6). None of the Indian bowlers made any impact in the face of a brutal onslaught from the enterprising Pakistani openers.
Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli wasn’t at his fluent best but his 57 off 49 balls was the saving grace in India’s middling score of 151 for seven. His 29th half-century in T20 Internationals wasn’t as good as some of his other innings but considering that he defused a potentially troubling situation created by Shaheen Shah Afridi’s (3/31 in 4 overs) menacing opening spell, this knock was significant.
Shaheen also did his bit at the death, removing the Indian skipper in the penultimate over. Kohli got support from Rishabh Pant (39 off 30 balls) during a 53-run stand but had to do the bulk of heavy lifting in a pressure cooker scenario, something he has been accustomed to for the past one decade.
Shaheen, one of the most exciting fast bowlers, produced two unplayable deliveries at the biggest stage under pressure, which any batter would have found difficult to negotiate. The most difficult delivery from a left-arm fast bowler is the one that holds the line just when the batter had committed for the angle.
In the case of Rohit (0), before he could adjust his footwork, he got one that was pitched on block hole and straightened. It caught him plumb in-front.
KL Rahul (3) thought that the ball will straighten but it shaped in to breach his defence and disturb the off-stump.
Suryakumar Yadav (11) did hit a six over backward square leg off Shaheen and a boundary off Imad Wasim (0/10 in 2 overs) but Hasan Ali bowled one back of the length which he edged while trying to cut and a diving Mohammed Rizwan behind the stumps pouched it.
Pant joined Kohli as the Powerplay score read a disastrous 36 for three. They added 53 runs in 6.4 overs to get some momentum back in an exciting stand dominated by the left-hander.
Brief scores: India 151/7 in 20 overs (V Kohli 57, S Afridi 3/31) lost to Pakistan 152/0 in 17.5 overs (Md. Rizwan 79*, B Azam 68*)