The Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it was difficult to chase 329 runs but paid tribute to his young guns, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as they made that possible.
The Blue Shirts won the important pool match of the Asia Cup 2012 against Pakistan by 6 wickets on March 18, 2012, at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, in front of the capacity crowd who cheered both teams and the winning team got the great honours.
India earlier faced a humiliating defeat against the hosts Bangladesh who beat them by five wickets in a nail biting match on March 16, 2012 at the same venue.
India defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets on February 28, 2012, at Hobart, Australia in the 11th match of the Commonwealth Bank Series 2011-12 while chasing 320 runs. Virat Kohli hammered the rival attack by dispatching an unbeaten 133off 86 balls with 2 sixes and 16 fours and the match was won in 36.4 overs.
It was the second time within a month when the Blue Shirts showed their skills by chasing over 300 runs. The encounter against Pakistan was really important for them as losing the match could have thrown them out of the tournament. Pakistan set a difficult target of 330 runs for India to win the match which was never easy to chase even if on the placid wickets. Dhoni described it by saying,
“Once you cross 300 it’s difficult irrespective of how flat the pitch is, we did it in Hobart. We’ve got the talent in the bowling department also. It’s about how you handle pressure, they will learn from games like these.”
Earlier, Misbah-Ul-Haq elected to bat after winning the toss and Pakistani openers, Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed gave them an immaculate start by thrashing 224 runs for the first wicket.
Both of them plundered centuries and provided the biggest ever opening stand against India. Hafeez dispatched 105 runs and Nasir demonstrated a polished knock of 112 runs and they provided a solid platform for a big total.
Dhoni acknowledged the quality of batting displayed by Pakistan which made him worried and it was difficult to get a breakthrough even after using eight bowlers. He said,
“When they were batting, as a captain, you cannot do much. They batted brilliantly. We used eight bowlers and when you use eight bowlers it means things are not going your way. It still was a good wicket under lights but you still needed partnerships.”
India got an early blow when their prominent opener, Gautam Gambhir went back to the pavilion without opening their account. The little master, Sachin Tendulkar and the current sensation in the cricket world, Virat Kohli took over and established the innings by contributing 133 runs for the first wicket. Tendulkar lost his wicket for 52 when Kohli and Rohit Sharma blasted out in the middle.
Kohli was playing the innings of his life and bulldozed the rival bowling at will and they had no answer to his thunderous batting. The duo almost took India to the brink of victory by smashing 172 runs partnership when Sharma lost his wicket for 68. Kohli followed him 13 runs later but not before tearing apart the bowling of Pakistan by smashing his career best 183 runs from 148 deliveries with one huge six and 22 perfectly timed fours.
MS Dhoni appreciated all three batsmen who enabled India to achieve a much deserving victory by commenting,
“Sachin and Virat batted brilliantly, Rohit can be a good finisher. He was calm and cool. Kohli was brilliant. It never looked he slogged. He played proper cricketing shots.”