India's Mohammed Shami (right) and Rohit Sharma celebrate the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed
Melbourne (AFP) - Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh both took three wickets as Pakistan made 159-8 against India in their opening game of the Twenty20 World Cup in an electric atmosphere at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Shan Masood hit a gutsy unbeaten 52 and Iftikhar Ahmed 51 but the loss of two early wickets to Singh’s swing bowling, then a mid-order collapse at Pandya’s hands, took the wind out of their sails.
World number one India, the 2007 champions, have largely dominated Pakistan since the late 1990s but have lost two of their three previous clashes.
While Rohit Sharma’s side are ranked world number one, they haven’t lifted the T20 trophy since 2007, failing to reach the semi-finals last year.
But they got off to a cracking start after winning the toss and choosing to bowl in a carnival atmosphere with an estimated 100,000 fans jammed into the MCG.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam fell lbw for a golden duck to Singh on the first ball of the second over as the stadium erupted.
Babar reviewed, but it was plumb in front, with Singh’s swing causing more carnage in his next over when Mohammad Rizwan (4) top-edged a rising ball to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at fine leg.
It left Pakistan in trouble at 15-2 off the first four overs.
Masood, who recovered sufficiently from being hit on the head last week, survived a narrow run out appeal and a missed catch as he and Ahmed worked to rebuild the innings.
They reached 60-2 at the halfway mark then Ahmed flicked a switch when the slow bowlers came on, hitting Ravi Ashwin for six then plundering three more in one over from Axar Patel.
Ahmed reached his half-century before Mohammed Shami trapped him lbw, sparking a collapse with Pandya snaring Shadab Khan, Haider Ali and Mohammad Nawaz in the space of 19 runs.