The losing streak, which began in 1992, was ended in spectacular fashion as the team thoroughly dominated on the way to a 10-wicket victory. One illustration of how dominant the men in green were is that it was Pakistan’s first-ever 10-wicket win and India’s first-ever loss by that margin in a T20 international. Man of the match Shaheen Afridi’s three-wicket haul included both openers within the first three overs to cripple India early, before Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam trampled the Indian bowlers, reaching the 152-run target with more than two overs to spare.
In the annals of Pakistan cricket history, their stunning ten-wicket triumph against arch-rivals India in the T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on Sunday night will go down as one of the really special ones — perhaps, somewhere in the same bracket as the Miandad-guided Sharjah Cup win or even the 1992 World Cup victory. Never mind the fact that it was just the opening game of the T20 World Cup and it’s a long way to go before Babar Azam can actually put his hands on the coveted trophy. The sheer wait for this result makes it so very special. And the way the likes of Pakistan’s latest pace sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi and the batting duo of the sublime Babar and Mohammad Rizwan landed killer blows on what many saw as a superior opposition was the perfect icing on the cake.Stunning cricket
Most pundits thought Pakistan had little or no hope of beating the high-flying Indians. On paper, India were clearly the favourites. The formbook favoured them as did history — Pakistan had never beaten them in a World Cup game in 12 previous attempts. India’s preparations for the World Cup were ideal as their players featured in the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE and had fully adapted to the local conditions. Pakistan, meanwhile, got a raw deal after New Zealand and England refused to play in the country. This meant all the seven T20 Internationals which the Pakistanis had lined up at home to warm up for the World Cup were cancelled. Pakistan took the field against India having played their last T20I almost three months ago.
This stark contrast between the two sides didn’t seem to bother the Pakistanis on a hot and humid evening in Dubai. They put India into bat and happily saw Shaheen land early, almost decisive blows. Everything fell into place as Pakistan stayed in a commanding position during the best part of the match, something that was later conceded by Indian captain Virat Kohli. It was the sort of clinical performance that separates a good team from a great oneWe also hope that the performance serves as a reminder to other cricketing nations that refusing or cancelling tours of Pakistan hurts them as much as it hurts us.