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Pakistan emerged victorious in the first of two Twenty20 internationals in the first bi-lateral series between the sides for five years, in a match that went down to the final over. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first, but Gautam Gambhir and Ajinyka Rahane gave India a steady start, adding 77 for the first wicket. Rahane's dismissal for 42 set off a chain reaction, as nine Indian wickets fell for 56 runs. From 77-0, India crawled to 133 for 9 at the end of their 20 overs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, on debut, gave India something to cheer when he picked up three wickets in his first two overs, and showed he could move the ball both ways. Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal were left shaking their heads as they lost their offstump and middle stump respectively. Beyond Kumar though, India had struggled to take wickets and Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik slowly rebuilt the innings. The pair added 106 to take Pakistan to the brink of victory, before a late wobble gave India hope.
Pakistan needed 10 off the final over, but managed just four from the first three deliveries. Malik then lofted Jadeja for a straight six to give Pakistan an unnecessarily thrilling victory. You can relive the action below.
The T20 marked the bilateral game between India and Pakistan since November 2007, Analysts see the cricket series as a sign the two sides are ready to move past the enmity that followed the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, when 10 Pakistan-based gunmen killed 166 people in a three-day rampage across the city.
Prior to the match, Indian skipper MS Dhoni said the teams were evenly placed. “It’s not about how good you look on paper. It’s always about how an individual reacts to the situation he faces – whether a bowler or batsman. I think the teams are evenly placed right now.
He also believes that playing two T20s and three one-day international (ODIs) against arch-rival Pakistan over the next two weeks would help India to get into groove for the five ODIs with England from Jan 11-27.
“The good thing about these two series (Pakistan following England) is that the five matches (two T20s & three ODIs) in between will give time to get into the groove, as they are very different from the longer format (Tests)."