India lose to Pakistan by 8 wickets in T20 for blind
Bangalore, Dec 7 (IANS) India lost to arch rival Pakistan Friday by eight wickets in the T20 World Cup for blind league match here.
Chasing a target of 251 after restricting India to 250 for two wickets in the 20 stipulated overs at the Aditya Birla sports ground, Pakistan cruised to victory in 18.5 overs losing only two wickets.
Though Pakistan began the chase losing an early wicket of Aleem Murtaza, opener Mohammad Akram (partial vision) and Aamir Ishfaq (totally blind) rattled the Indian bowlers by scoring merrily to register a century partnership for the second wicket before Akram was run out for 92 off 48 balls.
Mohammad Jameel (partial vision), joined unbeaten Ishfaq (90 of 40 balls) to reach the target (251) in the 19th over by contributing 45 runs in 22 balls. Ishfaq was declared man of the match.
The Indian fielding, which maintained high standards all through the tournament, wilted under pressure with two catches dropped and the Pakistanis scoring on both sides of the wicket.
Earlier, put to bat first, Indian opener Prakash Jayaramaiah continued his golden form to hit fourth century (126 off 82 balls) in the tournament and helped the team to post 250 on the board.
"Pakistanis bowled a restrictive line on the leg stump and were backed up with very good fielding. Credit goes to them for bowling to the field and giving little width to the free-scoring Jayaramaiah," Indian coach Patrick Rajkumar told reporters after the match.
Ruing the missed opportunity, Indian captain Shekar Naik said failing to accelerate the score in the first six overs proved costly for the team.
"We had beaten Pakistan in February last in a T20, and we were aware of their strengths. I am confident that this experience will help us to get the better of Pakistan whom we expect to meet again in the finals," Naik asserted later.
Though Ketan Patel (totally blind) chipped in with a fine 72 off 33 balls, Indians failed to take risks as they had enough wickets to accelerate the score after the middle overs.
The atmosphere was, however, emotionally charged with cheers and chants from Indian fans and the Pakistan contingent.
Legendary wicket keeper batsman Syed Kirmani who presided over the presentation ceremony, said he was amazed by the way the players showed their anticipation in the field and lauded their agility and competence in fielding, which was equal to any normal cricketer.
India plays minnows Nepal Saturday to get back to winning as it has four wins and one loss in five league matches it played so far for a place in semis Dec 12.
In the other league tie at the same ground, England had a cakewalk over Nepal with a 10-wicket victory after restricting the latter to 151 for nine wickets in 20 overs and reaching the target (152) in 8.2 overs. English batsman Andy Powers (partial vision) was declared man of the match for his quick 77 runs in 31 balls.
In the other two fixtures at the Central College grounds in the city centre, Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 27 runs scoring 226 runs for wickets and restricting the Caribbeans to 199 for four wickets.
Sri Lankan batsman Kumara (partial vision) was declared man of the match for his brilliant 92 runs in 62 balls.
With five wins out of six games, the Lankans are sure of a place in the semis.
In the last encounter of the day, Australia had an easy 95-run win over Bangladesh after scoring 245 runs for six wickets and restricting the latter to 150 for six wickets. Aussie Hamish Mackenzie (totally blind) was declared man of the match for taking two wickets in two overs.
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