India recovered from an early Mohammad Amir burst to consign Pakistan to a five-wicket Asia Cup defeat after bowling their fierce rivals out for only 83 in Mirpur on Saturday.
The two nations renewed their rivalries after a bilateral scheduled for last December was called off due to political tensions and there was no shortage of drama at the Shere Bangla National Stadium just a few weeks before they clash in the World Twenty20.
Pakistan crumbled to their third-lowest T20 total in their first game of the tournament, with Hardik Pandya (3-8) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-11) among the India bowlers to take advantage of a woeful batting display.
Amir (3-18), facing India for the first time since serving a five-year ban, produced a magnificent spell to reduce India to 8-3, but Virat Kohli (49) and Yuvraj Singh (14 not out) put on 68 for the fourth wicket before MS Dhoni hit the winning runs with 27 balls to spare.
Dhoni, passed fit after recovering from a bat injury, opted to put Pakistan in after winning the toss and that proved to be a wise move.
Ashish Nehra (1-20) had Mohammad Hafeez (4) caught behind in the first over and fellow opener Sharjeel Khan (7) also fell cheaply to Jasprit Bumrah (1-8) before a Kohli direct hit sent debutant Khurram Manzoor (10) on his way.
Things went from bad to worse for Pakistan as they lost five wickets for 20 runs to collapse to 52-7 before eventually only bettering their worst T20 total of 74 by nine runs, thanks largely to 25 from Sarfraz Ahmed – the only batsman to better the tally of 15 extras.
Left-arm paceman Amir gave Pakistan hope by trapping openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, in for the injured Shikhar Dhawan, leg before wicket without scoring in the first over.
Amir then dismissed Suresh Raina (1) to leave India in a mess on 8-3 in the third over, but an assured knock from the classy Kohli and a patient Yuvraj innings ended Pakistan’s hopes of an unlikely victory before Dhoni struck a boundary through the covers to end the contest.