Bowling first after winning the toss, India began brilliantly as Arshdeep Singh dismissed Babar Azam (0) and Mohammad Rizwan (4) in his opening spell. Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34) and Shan Masood (52* off 42) then took Pakistan to 91 before Mohammed Shami trapped Iftikhar leg before. Pandya then dismissed Shadab Khan (5), Haider Ali (2) and Mohammad Nawaz (9) cheaply as Pakistan stumbled to 115 for 6. Arshdeep also claimed his third, dismissing Asif Ali (2) off a short ball. Shaheen Afridi’s cameo (16) took Pakistan to 159/8.
In the chase, Naseem Shah cleaned up KL Rahul (4), while the pace of Haris Rauf took out Rohit Sharma (4) and Suryakumar Yadav (5). Axar Patel, who had conceded 21 runs in his only over, was then run out for 2 after a mix-up with Kohli. The latter and Pandya kept India in the hunt, even if only slightly. The chase master then turned it on in the last few overs. The winning runs came via a loft by Ravichandran Ashwin off Nawaz.
Reflecting on the superb, Indian captain Rohit said, “I was in the dressing room. I don't have any words left. You got to expect something like this in a game like this. We wanted to stay in the game for as long as possible. That crucial partnership was the game-changing moment for us. The pitch had something in it. There was nice carry. Some swing and seam. Good to see from the bowling perspective.”
Pakistan captain Babar credited Kohli and Pandya. He said, “Our bowlers bowled really well. All credit to Kohli and Pandya. It wasn't easy with the new ball. We had partnerships after 10 overs. We had a chance. We tried to stick to our plans. But credit to Virat Kohli. In the middle we decided we wanted a wicket and held the spinner back.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent