COLOMBO: Kamran Akmal’s speedy 92 gave Pakistan a five-wicket win over India in a practice game for the World Twenty20 2012 in Colombo. The result had a bit of history associated to it: it is Pakistan’s first win over their arch rivals at a World Cup-level event.
Akmal’s superlative knock in 50 balls and his 95-run partnership with Shoaib Malik saw Pakistan through after Ravichandran Ashwin had scythed their top-order picking up 4-23 with some clever variations.
Earlier, India had made an impressive 185-3. Virat Kohli continued with his rich form in making 75, but Rohit Sharma’s 56 was the more pleasing aspect for India, given his recent horror run in the ODIs in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan were 91-5 in the 12th and an Indian win seemed certain. But Akmal and Malik’s handling of India’s death bowlers turned things around.
The turn-around began with a 19-run over off Zaheer Khan. Akmal put India’s most experienced bowler for consecutive sixes before Malik rounded it off with a four and two.
Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan and Lakshmipathy Balaji disappointed, going for a total of 120 runs in under 12 overs combined without a wicket – figures which cost India the game. Ashwin was the only India bowler today to concede less than 10 an over.
NOT A BAD GAME: DHONI
"We knew that if India could post a huge total, so could we," said Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez. "Kamran was exceptional, and Malik's experience also helped."
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the batting worked well, but the bowlers needed to contain runs on the easy-paced wickets.
"It was not really a bad game for us," he said. "We have got to work on a few things with our bowling."
India and Pakistan are drawn in different groups for the preliminary league, but are seeded to meet in the Super Eights round in Colombo on September 30.
ENGLAND BEAT AUSTRALIA
In other matches, England beat Australia by nine runs, Ireland pipped Bangladesh by five runs, the West Indies slammed Afghanistan by eight wickets and South Africa overcame New Zealand by nine runs.
Reigning champions England piled up 172-6 after being sent in to bat, with opener Alex Hales top-scoring with 52 off 38 balls. Luke Wright hit a 29-ball 35 and Eoin Morgan scored a brisk 30 from 16 balls.
Australia managed only 163-6 in reply against the tight England bowling despite a polished 71 off 51 balls from Michael Hussey, who hit five sixes.
England, who take on Afghanistan in their opening match in Colombo on Friday, play another practice match against Pakistan on Wednesday.
IRELAND BEAT BANGLADESH
A middle-order collapse saw Bangladesh go down to Ireland despite Shakib Al Hasan's hurricane 52 from 23 balls that was studded with three fours and five sixes.
Ireland made 164-6 after being asked to take first strike, with Paul Stirling hitting a 41-ball 71 with five fours and as many sixes. Ed Joyce scored 39 from 36 balls.
Shakib and Tamim Iqbal (35) took Bangladesh to a comfortable 105-2, before four wickets fell for 21 runs to allow Ireland to bounce back.
GAYLE THRASHING FOR AFGHANS
West Indies opener Chris Gayle warmed up for the tournament with an unbeaten 65 off 48 balls as the West Indies eased past Afghanistan's modest 122-7 in the 16th over.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor hammered seven sixes in an unbeaten 75 from 42 balls, but could not prevent South Africa from carving out a nine-run victory.
South Africa rode on captain AB de Villiers' 54 to make 186-6 before four wickets from Dale Steyn restricted the Black Caps to 177-8.
OTHER WARM-UP RESULTS:
England beat Australia by nine runs: England 172-6 in 20 overs (Alex Hales 52, Luke Wright 35, Eoin Morgan 30, Brad Hogg 2-39, Mitchell Starc 2-32) Australia 163-6 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 37, Mike Hussey 71, Steven Finn 2-26)
Ireland beat Bangladesh by five runs: Ireland 164-6 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 71, Ed Joyce 39, Mashrafe Mortaza 2-33, Shakib Al Hasan 2-21) Bangladesh 159-9 in 20 overs (Tamim Iqbal 35, Shakib Al Hasan 52, Kevin O'Brien 3-24, Trent Johnston 2-25, Alex Cusack 2-28)
South Africa beat New Zealand by nine runs: South Africa 186-6 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 54, JP Duminy 30, Farhaan Behardien 24 not out, Adam Milne 2-26, James Franklin 2-31) New Zealand 177-8 in 20 overs (Ross Taylor 75, Rob Nicol 37, Dale Steyn 4-25)
West Indies beat Afghanistan by eight wickets: Afghanistan 122-7 (Asghar Stanikzai 53, Fidel Edwards 3-24, Sunil Narine 2-23) West Indies 125-2 in 15.5 overs (Chris Gayle 65 not out, Mohammad Nabi 2-29)