India’s ploy to challenge the Pakistan top order with short balls after winning the toss worked perfectly as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4-26) got the key wickets of captain Babar Azam (10) and Fakhar Zaman (10) inside the batting powerplay.
Pandya then sliced through the middle order and also had top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan (43) dismissed with another sharp bouncer before No. 11 Shahnawaz Dahani smashed two late sixes to give Pakistan a glimmer of hope. Dahani, who made 16 off six balls, was the last man out with a ball remaining in the innings.
“The way we started we were 10-15 runs short,” Babar said. “Dahani stepped up with the bat which really gave us something to defend, but it’s a shame we couldn’t finish it off.
“We wanted to have 15 or so (runs) to defend for Nawaz (in the last over), but that wasn’t to be and Pandya finished it off wonderfully.”
In the absence of injured Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan’s second-string fast bowlers still dominated India’s strong top order.
Debutant Naseem Shah had KL Rahul bowled for a golden duck before Kohli was dropped on zero by Zaman at second slip off the second ball he faced from the 19-year-old pacer’s superb first over.