T20 World Cup: Bumrah magic helps India down Pakistan

Team India
Jasprit Bumrah celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Babar Azam. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

New York: India beat Pakistan by six runs in a low-scoring but tense T20 World Cup Group A encounter on Sunday at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium where more than 34,000 fans were in attendance at the temporary arena despite the early rain.

The result moved India to the top of Group A with two wins from their opening two matches while Pakistan have zero points from two defeats following their upset by the hosts, the United States.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bowl first on a two-paced pitch where rain interruptions made things difficult for India who struggled to get going and were dismissed for 119.

In response, Mohammad Rizwan laid the platform for the chase with a patient knock of 31 but Pakistan fell short after losing wickets at regular intervals while India's Jasprit Bumrah (3/14) made crucial breakthroughs and bowled 15 dot balls.

"We felt that we were a little under par and when the sun came out, the wicket did get a little better," player -of-the-match Bumrah said.

"So we had to be really disciplined with what we were trying to do and we are very happy with the win."

Mohammad Rizwan
Mohammad Rizwan is cleaned up by Mohammad Rizwan. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Chasing a run-a-ball 120 to win, Pakistan lost skipper Babar Azam (13) when he edged Bumrah to the slips while Usman Khan and Fakhar Zaman also fell for 13.

But Rizwan, who was dropped in the third over by Shivam Dube near the boundary, made a patient knock of 31 before Bumrah made another crucial breakthrough when he had the opener bowled.

The game suddenly turned India's way when Rishabh Pant took a second running catch to dismiss Shadab Khan as Pakistan's required run rate crept up and left them needing 21 runs off the last two overs.

Bumrah was saved for the penultimate over where the pace spearhead conceded only three runs and finished his spell with his third wicket when Iftikhar Ahmed was caught in the deep.

Naseem Shah smashed two boundaries in the final over but Arshdeep Singh ensured there were no fireworks at the end as India held on for a narrow win.

In the first innings, which was delayed by rain, Rohit set the tone in the first over when he launched a Shaheen Afridi delivery into the stands behind midwicket to draw a huge roar from the crowd.

Spirits were briefly dampened when the rain returned and the players walked off but play restarted 35 minutes later with no overs lost.

Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi exults with teammates after sending back Rohit Sharma. Photo: AFP/Timothy A Clary

Virat Kohli kicked things off with a boundary but he played a loose shot to fall to Shah when he smashed a wide ball straight to the covers before Afridi dismissed Rohit when he skied a ball to deep square leg.

Axar Patel and Pant accelerated the scoring rate, but Shah struck again to remove Axar when the all-rounder charged down the pitch only to see the ball crash into the stumps.

Pant continued to live dangerously as he refused to take his foot off the gas, throwing his body around the crease to play unorthodox yet trademark shots to all corners of the ground, but he was losing partners at the other end.

The wicketkeeper's luck finally ran out when he fell for 42 while the middle and lower order collapsed, with none of the last seven batters getting into double digits as India were all out for 119.

"We didn't bat well enough. At 10 overs we were in a good position and you expect the guys to stitch together partnerships. We fell 15-20 runs short, every run matters on a pitch like that," Rohit said.

"The bowlers did the job for us... The never-say-die attitude in the team with 119 on the board, we didn't make early inroads but we got together and said if it can happen to us, it could happen to them."

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