Colombo: When it looked as if India would ease past Pakistan in yet another ICC World Cup encounter, though this one just being a warm up match, Kamran Akmal came up with a brilliant innings (92 off 50 balls) and was ably supported by former captain Shoaib Malik (37 off 18 balls) which helped Pakistan beat their arch-rivals by five wickets with five balls to spare in an ICC T20 World Cup warm-up match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday.
Chasing a daunting target of 186 runs to win, Pakistan failed to get a rousing start as Imran Nazir was caught by Suresh Raina off Ashwin and soon Nasir Jamshed met an unfortunate end when he ran himself out two balls later.
Kamran Akmal joined the skipper and the duo added 54 runs in the next five overs before Ashwin gave India another break by getting Mohammad Hafeez caught by Rohit Sharma. Pakistan’s plight continued as hard-hitter Shahif Afridifailed to open his account and gave a catch to Zahir Khan off Ashwin. The wicket of Umar Akmal in the 12th over did bring cheers into the Indian camp but then that was to be short-lived.
The day belonged to Kamran Akmal who was joined by experienced Shoaib Malik and the duo not only started the resurrection of Pakistani innings, but also took the attack back to the opposition. They not only foiled India’s chances of getting a breakthrough, there nearly slaughtered the bowling attack of the opposition and scored at a brisk pace that brought them closer to victory with every passing over. Kamran in particular was at his devastating best as he went on to score 92 off 50 deliveries that included five fours and six sixes. Malik too was harsh on the bowlers as the former captain played a fantastic unbeaten innings of 37 runs that included two fours and two sixes.
Earlier, after Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir failed in giving India the desired start, it was again on the man-in-form Virat Kohli to do the rebuilding process and this time he found an able partner in classy Rohit Sharma and the duo provided the Indian innings with the thrust it required. Though both the batsmen took a couple of overs to get their eyes set on the ball, once done they started the onslaught and Pakistan skipper had little answer to the same.
Kohli was the first to reach the half century mark when he drove Sohail Tanvir straight back past him and Rohit too followed suit by reaching 50 that was a joy to watch. The partnership was broken by Ajmal in the penultimate over of the innings, but by then, India had raced to 172. Finally India set a target of 185.
By Indian Sports News Network