KOCHI: Waving a big flag, Pakistan players celebrated their win over India with gusto at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Wednesday.
More than beating their arch-rivals in the inaugural T20 Asia Cup for the blind, they took the opportunity to express solidarity with the victims of a terrorist attack back home at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, near Peshawar, which reportedly left 21 dead earlier in the day.
“Pakistan zindabad” they chanted in unison, with black ribbons tied to their shoulders, before proceeding to exchange handshakes with the Indian team.
Having fallen 30 runs short of their intended total batting first, Pakistan bowled and fielded with passion to restrict the hosts and win by 19 runs. India were in the game till the final few overs with vice-captain Prakash Jayaramaiah slamming a 56-ball 75 that included the first six of the tournament.
Pakistan kept the Indian chase of 92 in check with spirited fielding, with even the B1 category players, who are fully blind, making diving stops.
Their innings was built around half-centuries by opener Nisar Ali (56 off 48) and No 4 Badar Munir (58 off 32).
Admitting his team had to work on this, Indian skipper Ajay Reddy said, “We performed only to around 75 per cent of our ability.” But he felt his team will do better should the two teams meet in the final, as is expected to be. Both have two wins apiece, with India having played a match more.
Sri Lanka beat Nepal by 137 runs, with opener C Deshapriya slamming an unbeaten 124.
Pakistan 191/9 in 20 ovs (Nisar Ali 56, Badar Munir 58) bt India 172/6 in 20 ovs (Prakash Jayaramaiah 75, Ketan Patel 24, Anees Javed 2/39).
Sri Lanka 239/2 in 20 ovs (C Deshapriya 124 no, Saman Kumara 56, R Karunatilaka 25 no ) bt Nepal 102/5 in 20 ovs (Padam Bahadur 33, D Ravindra 2/12).