Kolkata: Virat Kohli (55 not out) once again showed his class to steer India to six-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan in ICC World Twenty20 encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
The young Indian batsman held his nerve after Team India bowlers restricted Pakistan to a paltry total of 118 runs. The game was reduced to 18-overs a side affair after the wet outfield delayed the start of play.
While India stretched their winning streak to 11 against Pakistan in World Cups and World Twenty20, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led unit broke Pakistan's winning run at the iconic Kolkata venue.
16th over: IND 119/4 (Kohli 55, Dhoni 13)
Dhoni scores the winning run! There is something about MS Dhoni and scoring a winning run. He first smashes Irfan for a six to level the scores and then just dabs one to the leg-side to seal India's win.
15th over: IND 106/4 (Kohli 50, Dhoni 5)
Fifty for Kohli! What a fantastic knock this is from Virat Kohli. India under pressure and Kohli delivers once again.
14th over: IND 99/4 (Kohli 45, Dhoni 3)
No risk cricket! MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli take no risks as Amir returns to bowl. Four singles and then Kohli caps it off with a delightful four.
13th over: IND 91/4 (Kohli 39, Dhoni 1)
Kohli holds the key! Virat Kohli plays is sensibly as he does so many times. After scoring a boundary on the first ball of the over, deals in singles.
12th over: IND 84/4 (Kohli 33, Dhoni 0)
Wahab dismisses Yuvraj! Oh Yuvraj, what have you done! He tries to add pressure on Pakistan but gives an easy catch to Mohammad Sami in the deep.
11th over: IND 74/3 (Kohli 31, Yuvraj 16)
Kohli makes a move! Virat Kohli has gone after Shoaib Malik. A six and a four, India score 14 runs off that over.
10th over: IND 60/3 (Kohli 20, Yuvraj 15)
Riaz into the attack! India score six off Wahab Riaz's first over. Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli keeping INdia
9th over: IND 54/3 (Kohli 15, Yuvraj 14)
Malik creates no trouble! Yuvraj manages to deal with Shoaib Malik's loopy off-spinners. India go past fifty.
8th over: IND 46/3 (Kohli 13, Yuvraj 9)
India play it safe! Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli deal in singles as India move closer to fifty-run mark.
7th over: IND 40/3 (Kohli 10, Yuvraj 6)
Sami releases pressure! Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh have cashed in as Mohammad Sami delivers some freebies.
6th over: IND 28/3 (Kohli 3, Yuvraj 1)
No drama! Shahid Afridi brings himself into the attack but bowls a rather loose over. No trouble for Kohli and Yuvraj.
5th over: IND 23/3 (Kohli 1, Yuvraj 0)
Sami's double strike! Mohammad Sami has redeemed his stock as he removes Dhawan and Suresh Raina in his first over. India in a deep hole.
4th over: IND 18/1 (Dhawan 1, Kohli 1)
Dhawan under pressure! Mohammad Irfan offers no freebies as he troubles Dhawan. The Indian left-hander is trying hard to get out of the jail.
3rd over: IND 16/1 (Dhawan 1, Kohli 0)
Amir removes Rohit! Rohit Sharma tries to go after Amir but fails. Shoaib Malik does a fine job holding onto that skier.
2nd over: IND 14/0 (Rohit 10, Dhawan 1)
Rohit targets Irfan! Rohit Sharma wastes no time as he targets Mohammad Irfan. Two fours in his first over.
1st over: IND 4/0 (Rohit 1, Dhawan 1)
Watchful start! Rohit Sharma gets beaten on the first ball from Amir but he and Shikhar Dhawan manage to tackle with Amir's pace and swing.
Kolkata: Indian bowlers held their nerve and restricted ultra cautious Pakistan to 118 runs in the rain-curtailed encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Bumrah, Pandya, Raina, Nehra and Jadeja scalped a wicket each while Shoaib Malik top scored (26 runs) for Pakistan.
18th over: PAK 118/5 (Sarfaraz 8, Hafeez 5)
Bumrah holds his nerve! Pakistan fail to end with a flourish as young Jasprit Bumrah concedes merely seven runs in the final over.
17th over: PAK 111/5 (Sarfaraz 7, Hafeez 1)
Nehra sends Malik packing! The experience has come in handy as Ashish Nehra cramps Shoaib Malik for room. The Pakistani batsman top edges one and R Ashwin takes a neat catch at the short fine-leg.
16th over: PAK 103/4 (Malik 24, Sarfaraz 2)
Jadeja breaks partnership! Umar Akmal perishes as he tries to cut one past the wicketkeeper. Dhoni does a fine job as he holds on to that.
15th over: PAK 95/3 (Akmal 21, Malik 19)
Bumrah leaks 13! Akmal and Malik are going after the Indian younsters. Last two overs have yielded 28 runs for Pakistan.
14th over: PAK 82/3 (Akmal 19, Malik 9)
Pakistan go after Pandya! Hardik Pandya is taken to the cleaners as Malik and Akmal hit a six each. Pakistan are upping the ante.
13th over: PAK 67/3 (Akmal 12, Malik 1)
Nehra frustrates Malik! Ashish Nehra bowls a tight over. Only two runs off it. Pakistan struggling.
12th over: PAK 65/3 (Akmal 11, Malik 0 )
Pandya removes Afridi! Pakistan skipper loses his patience and his wicket. Virat Kohli holds on to an easy catch in the deep.
11th over: PAK 54/2 (Afridi 8, Akmal 1)
Pakistan slowing it down! Shahid Afridi is doing his best to smack every ball out of the ground only problem is it is not going as per his plan.
10th over: PAK 51/2 (Afridi 6, Umar Akmal 0)
Shehzad does the usual! Ahmad Shehzad has done what he usually does. Wastes a number of deliveries, plays a cute shot and then gets out. Bumrah strikes.
9th over: PAK 42/1 (Shehzad 21, Afridi 1)
Jadeja is turning it massive! Sir is turning it big and Pakistan batsmen are having no idea how to handle it.
8th over: PAK 39/1 (Shehzad 19, Afridi 0)
Pandya, you beauty! Suresh Raina has provided India their first breakthrough but all credit to Hardik Pandya for Sharjeel dismissal. the Indian all-rounder runs in from the deep, dives forward to take a stunner.
7th over: PAK 34/0 (Shehzad 16 , Sharjeel 16)
Jadeja troubles Shehzad! Ahmad Shehzad is slowing it down for Pakistan. A four for him in that over but he is looking clueless.
6th over: PAK 28/0 (Shehzad 12, Sharjeel 15)
Ashwin magic is on! R Ashwin is getting massive turn and it is an understatement to describe what the Indian bowler is doing.
5th over: PAK 24/0 (Shehzad 10 , Sharjeel 13)
Sharjeel cuts! Jasprit Bumrah concedes a four on the last ball of his first over as powerplay comes to an end.
4th over: PAK 19/0 (Shehzad 9, Sharjeel 9)
Shehzad joins the party! Ahmad Shehzad has made a move as he danced down the track against R Ashwin. But the Indian bowlers is continuing to turn it big.
3rd over: PAK 12/0 ( Shehzad 3 Sharjeel 8)
Sharjeel opens his shoulders! Sharjeel Khan has cashed in as Nehra bowls short. Pakistan score their first four.
2nd over: PAK 5/0 (Shehzad 1, Sharjeel 3)
Ashwin on a roll! Ravichandran Ashwin is turning it big as Shehzad and Sharjeel struggle. Spin and bounce for the offie but no damage done.
1st over : PAK 3/0 (Shehzad 1, Sharjeel 2)
Watchful start! Ashish Nehra started the proceedings for India as Ahmad Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan made a watchful start.
Kolkata: Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss as India elected to bowl against arch-rivals Pakistan in ICC World Twenty20 encounter in Kolkata on Saturday.
The start of the game was delayed due to wet outfield and hence, it will be a 18-overs a side match. The reduction in overs also mean that it will be 5 overs of powerplay instead of 6.
The toss took place at 8.10 pm and the the game will commence at 8.30 pm.
This group match is a must-win for the home team if skipper MS Dhoni’s boys want to make it to the big league.
Here's how Team India warmed up ahead of the big clash against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Earlier, it had rained heavy to light in Kolkata since early morning today, keeping fans on the edge about the crucial India-Pakistan match at Eden Gardens this evening.
Here are live updates from all the action in Kolkata:
7.52 pm: The felicitation ceremony is over. Former cricket legends batted for peace between both countries. Toss expected soon.
7.47 pm: Former cricket legends from both countries India and Pakistan get felicitated.
7.39 pm: Felicitation ceremony has begun. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felicitates former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan.
7.33 pm: Both teams are out in the middle to warm-up.
7.23 pm: Covers are coming off. The pitch is being rolled and creases have been marked. Super soppers are busy.
7.07 pm: Good news for fans. We are in for a full 20 overs-a-side match. Cut off time is 8.50 pm local time.
6.56: Ground has been cleared in the bowler's run-up area. Toss to be delayed, scheduled for 7 pm local time.
6.50 pm: Teams have arrived the Eden Gardens. Mopping up activity is going on.
6.38: Huge cheer from fans as the central cover goes off.
6.33: Rain has stopped. Ground staff are still clearing the water off the covers. It was raining seconds ago and now has stopped. Unpredictable scenes t Eden Gardens.
6.20 pm: It has started drizzling again at Eden and getting frustrating for ground staff.
5.45 pm: The rain has stopped and super sopper is at work.
There's so much love for cricket&cricketers here.They (Pak team) should think,they are playing on home ground-R Khan pic.twitter.com/zC9tImcdkU— ANI (@ANI_news) March 19, 2016
5.20 pm: Pitch inspection is at 6.30 pm after the clouds held around 5.30 following a brief spell of heavy showers.
Ranked number one in the tournament, India are under pressure after a shocking loss to New Zealand in the tournament’s Super 10 opener while Pakistan demolished Asian rivals Bangladesh by 55 runs.
It will clearly be a battle between Indian batsmen and Pakistani bowlers. "After the loss to New Zealand, India are under far more pressure against Pakistan. I feel Pakistan start as favourites for the game on Saturday," said veteran Sunil Gavaskar.
However, Indian bowlers too have done a commendable job in the recent past with the likes of veteran Ashish Nehra and young Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack from the front. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have also struck at vital moments.
It rained heavily for nearly two hours in the morning, keeping ground staff on tenterhooks -- ahead of a clash that generates a completely different range of emotions among fans of both countries.
Unfortunately, there was an ominous prediction of heavy showers in the evening today.
“There are chances of rain and thundershowers in the evening in certain pockets. We can’t specifically say when and where but there are chances,” said M S Jana, assistant meteorologist at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.
Heavy rains in the morning even blocked roads in Kolkata. But the skies cleared by early afternoon and there was bright sunshine. The match starts at 7.30 pm and fans would be hoping that rain gods don’t play spoilsport during this marquee clash.
This is the Norwester or the Kalbaishakhi season in Bengal and Bangladesh -- local thunderstorms and strong squalls that frequently lash the region from end March till the monsoon.
The drainage at Eden Gardens is also a perennial problem because of which several international and Indian Premier League (IPL) matches have been washed out in the past.
For this match, a golf-course pitchmaker has worked on the Eden drainage and outfield. A new super sopper machine also arrived last Sunday, taking the total super sopper count to five.
India enter as favourites after having defeated Pakistan last time the two sides met in the Asia Cup. M S Dhoni and Co will be desperate for a win after the shocking loss to New Zealand at Nagpur in the Super 10 opener.
The numbers, however, favour Pakistan when it comes to Eden, who have beaten their arch rivals four times in ODIs. They have won and lost a game each in Tests....