Ahmedabad, Dec 28: India won a thrilling second Twenty20 International against Pakistan by 11 runs to level the two-match series 1-1 at the Sardar Patel Stadium here on Friday. It was again a last-over finish with India holding their nerve to clinch an exciting encounter.
For the second time in the series, it was a close contest. In the first game in Bangalore, Pakistan had won by 5 wickets in the final over. Here again, Pakistan were looking good in their pursuit of a mammoth 193 but fell short by 11 runs. They needed 20 runs off the last six balls bowled by Ishant Sharma and the Indian paceman kept to 8 runs and dismissed Umar Gul off the final ball. Pakistan ended with 181/7 in 20 overs.
India's mammoth score was set up by Yuvraj Singh with his highest T20I score of 72 off 36 balls. He won the Man-of-the-match award. He also took a wicket.
Captain Mohammad Hafeez was the man who led Pakistan's chase with a superb 26-ball 55 (6x4, 3x6). He threatened to take the game away from the hosts but Ashok Dinda's exceptional spell of bowling ensured India saved the day. Hafeez, with second successive half century took the Man-of-the-series honour.
With Pakistan needing 26 off 12 balls, Dinda bowled superbly to remove Hafeez and Kamran Akmal in the 19th over and gave just 6 runs. Dinda had figures of 3/36 in 4 overs.
Earlier, openers Nasir Jamshed (41) and Ahmed Shehzad (31) gave Pakistan a good start of 74 in 9.5 overs. However, the required run rate was always more than 10 per over. Hafeez, Umar Akmal tried their best to keep up with the rate but the captain's exit in the 19th over was the turning point in the chase.
Now, action shifts to three One Day Internationals. The first ODI will be played in Chennai on Sunday. It is a day game and starts at 9AM IST.
India innings: 192/5
It rained sixes at Sardar Patel Stadium on Friday. And it came from the bat of one man. Yuvraj smashed his sixth half century (36-ball 72, 7x6, 4x4) in T20Is to power India to 192/5 in 20 overs.
Yuvraj, looking in top form today, raced to his half century in 29 balls. The left-hander struck two successive sixes off Sohail Tanvir in the 18th over to get to 50. That over fetched India 18 runs.
Yuvraj did one better in the next over, 19th, bowled by Saeed Ajmal. He hit three consecutive sixes and it was India's best over with 22 runs. In all, he hit seven sixes in a display of clean hitting. He was dismissed on the second ball of the final over.
India were 72/2 in 10 overs and moved to 118/3 in 15. In the last 30 balls, Yuvraj's assault lifted India to 74 runs in that final period.
With Yuvraj on fire at one end, captain MS Dhoni (33) was not far behind. He complemented Yuvraj well in a breezy 97-run partnership in 7.2 overs for the fourth wicket.
Umar Gul finished with 4 wickets for 37 runs in four overs. Ajmal had no success and went for plenty (0/42 in 4). Sohail Tanvir too was expensive with 0/44 in 4. Seven-feet 1-inch tall left-arm paceman Mohammad Irfan was the lone bowler spared in run riot, with 0/20 in 4.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir (21) and Ajinkya Rahane (28) gave India a good start. They put on 44 for the first wicket in 4.5 overs. Virat Kohli looked good for his 27 but was run out.
The pitch is good for batting and with dew factor likely to play a part, it will be an interesting chase.
Toss Report: Pakistan opt to field
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez won the toss again and elected to bowl first against India. Unlike the first match, this game has started two hours early, at 5PM IST.
India made one change while Pakistan retained same XI from Bangalore. R Ashwin came in place of Ravindra Jadeja. Shahid Afridi, playing his 58th T20I today, becomes the most capped, beating New Zealander Brendon McCullum (57).
Pakistan won the first T20I of the series by five wickets in Bangalore. After today's match, both teams will play three One Day Internationals, starting in Chennai on Sunday.
India: MS Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Pakistan: Mohammed Hafeez (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Ahmed Shehzad.
Umpires: Sudhir Asnani and Vineet Kulkarni
Third umpire: C Shamshuddin
Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama
Match starts at 5PM IST