Colombo, Sep 30: First the bowlers were fantastic. Then came a superb half century from Virat Kohli and India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their Super Eight game of ICC World Twenty20 2012 here on Sunday night. In the process of this victory, India completed a hat-trick of successes over their arch rivals in World T20 (won two games in 2007). And also they won their first Super Eight match since 2007 World T20 edition. India's record of not losing to Pakistan in any World Cup has remained intact.
The target of 129 was never threatening and India overhauled it in 17 overs with the loss of opener Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
Over the last few months Indian team's batting is all about one man, that is Kohli. Time and again, he has been the backbone of the innings. Today, it was no different. Walking into the crease at 1/1 after just two balls, Kohli showed his class yet again. His 61-ball 78 not out was enough to keep Pakistan bowlers at bay and give India a chance of progressing to last-four. Yuvraj Singh made 19 not out and hit the winning run.
This was Kohli's fourth half century in last six T20 Internationals. He deservedly won the Man-of-the-match honour.
India will now face South Africa on Tuesday. They have to win that game and their passage to semi-finals will depend on the earlier game on that day where Pakistan take on Australia. So an interesting day of action will begin on October 2, the last day of Super Eights.
Pakistan Innings Report
What an inspired bowling effort it was by India. Their bowlers, after the humiliation against Australia, bounced back to bowl Pakistan out for 128 in 19.4 overs. Lakshmipathy Balaji took three, R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh had two apiece as a charged up Indian outfit roared back to form. Balji's 3/19 are his best T20I figures.
Pakistan, after the initial two over where they scored quick runs, were never allowed to settle down. With a dry pitch assisting spinners, India strangled Pakistan for runs. Only Shoaib Malik could make an innings-high of 28 but the others just succumbed to this high-pressure match.
India now fancy themselves to score these runs as many less overs as possible to boost their net run rate. However, at the same time, Pakistan bowlers will definitely come hard at Indians. They too have quality spinners in their line-up.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first against India in their Super Eight game of ICC World Twenty20 2012 here on Sunday night. Virender Sehwag has returned to the side while Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla are dropped. Lakshmipathy Balaji also comes back.
Pakistan are unchanged from last game. India are going in with seven batsmen.
India and Pakistan have met twice before in World T20. In 2007, India won both clashes. In the league stage, the match ended in a tie and India won via a bowl-out. In the final, India defeated Pakistan by five runs to win the trophy.
In the Super Eights, India were thrashed by Australia by nine wickets while Pakistan came from behind to stun South Africa with Umar Gul starring with the bat.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (Captain), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan, Umar Gul.
Umpires: Rod Tucker (Australia) and Richard Kettleborough (England)
Third umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand)
Match starts at 7.30 PM IST