Half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik steered Pakistan to a tense five-wicket win in their first Twenty20 international against India in Bangalore yesterday.
The tourists looked in serious trouble at 12 for three in pursuit of a target of 134, debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar (three for nine) doing all the early damage in the first bilateral series between the two neighbouring countries in five years.
However, skipper Hafeez and all-rounder Malik got Pakistan's chase back on target, the pair putting on a fourth-wicket stand of 106 that looked to have them cruising to victory.
In the end they had to work harder than they might have expected, though, with Hafeez's departure for 61 - having hit two sixes and six fours - leading to a late wobble.
Kamran Akmal came and went cheaply but Malik (57 not out) held his nerve in the final over. He duly dispatched the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja down the ground for a six, seeing Pakistan over the line with two balls to spare.
India had looked well set to post a more challenging target after being put into bat when they reached 77 without loss in the 11th over, Ajinkya Rahane leading the way with a breezy 42.
However, his departure to the leg-spin of Shahid Afridi sparked a collapse. Opening partner Gautam Gambhir fell shortly after for 43, and only two other Indian batsmen managed to reach double figures.
Having at one stage been well-placed on 90-1, the hosts lost eight wickets for 34 in the face of some tight bowling. Saeed Ajmal took 2-25 from his four overs, the spinner claiming the key scalps of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (one) and Suresh Raina, who was bowled for 10.
Umar Gul then finished the innings in style for Pakistan, dismissing Jadeja and Ishant Sharma in successive deliveries to finish with figures of 3-21, an impressive effort considering his first over had gone for 13 runs.
INDIA vs PAKISTAN
G Gambhir run out (Tanvir/wkpr K.Akmal) 43
A Rahane c U.Akmal b Afridi 42
V Kohli c wkpr KI.Akmal b Irfan 9
Y Singh c U.Akmal b Gul 1 0
MS Dhoni b Ajmal 1
S Raina b Ajmal 10
R Sharma run out (Malik) 2
R Jadeja c wkpr K.Akmal b Gul 2
B Kumar not out 6
I Sharma b Gul 0
A Dinda not out 3
EXTRAS: (LB2, W3) 5
TOTAL: (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 133
Wickets at: 77 (Rahane), 90 (Gambhir), 103 (Kohli), 108 (Dhoni), 115 (Singh), 122 (Raina), 123 (Sharma), 124 (Jadeja), 124 (Sharma)
BOWLING: Irfan 4-0-25-1 (2w), Tanvir 4-0-22-0, Gul 3-0-21-3, Ajmal 4-0-25-2 (1w), Afridi 3-0-26-1, Hafeez 2-0-12-0
N Jamshed b Kumar 2
A Shehzad c wkpr Dhoni b Kumar 5
M Hafeez c Kumar b I.Sharma 61
U Akmal b Kumar 0
S Malik not out 57
K Akmal c I.Sharma b Dinda 1
S Afridi not out 3
EXTRAS: (LB1, W3, NB1) 5
TOTAL: (for five wickets, 19.4 overs) 134
Wickets at: 2 (Jamshed), 11 (Shehzad), 12 (U.Akmal), 118 (Hafeez), 123 (K.Akmal)
BOWLING: Kumar 4-0-9-3 (2w), Dinda 4-0-26-1 (1w), I.Sharma 4-0-23-1 (1nb), Kohli 2-0-21-0, Singh 3-0-25-0, Jadeja 2.4-0-29-0
Result: Pakistan won by five wickets.