India’s win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup on Sunday has been termed as “a battle that is worth watching” by former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi.
Thousands thronged the Dubai cricket stadium, braving the heat, humidity and long walk to the venue given the security cordon.
It was the 10th time the sides met in a T20 International, with India having won seven of the nine previous meetings.
Pakistan, however, came in at the back of a thumping 10-wicket win the last time these two sides met – a T20 World Cup clash at the same venue in October last year.
A capacity crowd, including former cricketers and Bollywood actors, cheered both teams as they resumed their 74-year-old rivalry.
But it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar first and then all-rounder Hardik Pandya who ensured Pakistan did not go away with back-to-back wins over their neighbours,
winning praise from former India captains Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Pandya, the 28-year-old all-rounder, took three crucial wickets, including that of Pakistan’s top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan, and scored 34 runs off 17 balls to take India home.
The winning runs, a six in the final over of the match, sent the Indian-majority crowd in a frenzy and left Pakistan wondering what could have been.
Pakistan missed the services of their star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is out of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
Both teams will play their remaining group match against Hong Kong later this week.