Pakistan draw first blood

The first T20 between India and Pakistan that ended in a five-wicket win for the visitors contained all the elements that made a cricket match between the two countries an electrifying, most sought-after affair.

There were wonderful performances by two debutants – India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Irfan for Pakistan – a heated mid-pitch confrontation between Ishant Sharma and Kamran Akmal, and the third-umpire was pressed into service to judge the legality of an Ishant delivery. Only an Indian win was lacking, and their batsmen who were as careless as an evening jogger at a beach, had to take blame for that.

The quality of cricket was nothing to write home about, but a few dramatic incidents in the middle ensured that the crowd that filled to the rafters at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday got full worth of their money.

The uncomfortable moments started when Shoaib Malik tried to upper cut Ishant, and Ravindra Jadeja gobbled up a top-class catch running in from point. But third umpire Vineet Kulkarni deemed the short-pitched ball, second of that over, illegal for the height, halting the wild celebrations of the Indians. But things didn’t end there.

Ishant, who beat Kamran with a delivery that was angled into the batsman, came up to the wicketkeeper batsman and uttered a few words of choice, and Kamran too wasn’t ready to retract. It required the intervention of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and on-field umpires to cool the scene.

Dhoni played down the incident. “I don’t know the exact rules. (in T20 one bouncer per over is allowed, while Ishant’s bouncer was the second of the 18th over). So, the third umpire was asked to judge the height, and it was quite strange. But to be fair, the ball was a bit on the higher side.

“But the most important part was that Ishant didn’t utter any abuses. It was a more of a case of misunderstanding – bowler saying something and batsman understanding something else. We will, anyway, keep a check on that,” Dhoni said.

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