DHAKA Virat Kohli scored a confident 49 to prop up India in a tricky chase as they defeated neighbours Pakistan by five wickets in a low-scoring Asia Cup match on Saturday.
India, who will host the World Twenty20 next month, will be boosted by the performance of their bowlers ahead of the March 8-April 3 tournament after they skittled Pakistan for 83 inside 18 overs.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur and his bowlers responded brilliantly, extracting good movement out of the wicket.
Medium paceman Hardik Pandya was the most successful among the Indian bowlers, picking up three wickets for eight runs, while Pakistan did not help their own cause with Khurram Manzoor and captain Shahid Afridi running themselves out.
Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed's 25 was Pakistan's highest individual score while Manzoor, making his T20 debut, was the only other batsman to reach double figures with 10.
India's chase also began on a sorry note with left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir dismissing both openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane leg before in the first over before they had opened their scoring.
Suresh Raina fell in Amir's next over as India were reduced to 8-3 with Kohli and Yuvraj Singh at the crease.
Yuvraj struggled against the Pakistan pace attack initially but managed to stay at the crease with Kohli as the duo added 68 for the fourth wicket to take India in sight of their target.
Kohli looked assured and on course for his 13th T20 fifty but was given lbw against paceman Mohammad Sami though he seemed to have got an edge on the ball.
Pandya fell two balls later for a duck, edging Sami to Mohammad Hafeez at first slip where the fielder managed to hold on after juggling the ball a few times.
India were still eight runs away from their target but southpaw Yuvraj (14 not out) and Dhoni took them home with 27 balls to spare.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Clare Fallon)
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