COLOMBO - A scintillating Kamran Akmal (92 off 50 balls) on Monday helped Pakistan beat India by five wickets in their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up game in Colombo.
Shoaib Malik (37* off 18 balls) gave him company.
Pakistan, who were 91/5 in 11.5 overs, were looking down the barrel with the fall of Umar Akmal (c & b Ashwin 2), even as Kamran Akmal (36*) was going strong.
The Twenty20 world cup has no favorites, but the two sub-continent giants along with the likes of West Indies are considered strong contenders.
Pakistan chasing 186-win target lost first two wickets [Imran Nazir (13) and Nasir Jamshed (0)] early at 30 and 33 runs. It lost Mohammad Hafeez (38) at 84 runs nd Shahid Afridi (0) and Umar Akmal (2) seven runs later at 91.
But Akmal and former captain Shoaib Malik turned the game around with a brilliant unbroken stand of 95 off 46 balls that helped Pakistan beat the shell-shocked Indians with five balls to spare.
Akmal shot six sixes, including the winning shot off seamer Irfan Pathan which sailed over the cover fence. Malik remained unbeaten on 37 off 18 balls.
Virat Kohli had earlier top-scored for India with 75 not out, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four wickets for 23 runs.
Some 3,000 Sri Lankan fans watched the arch-rivals battle out in the middle in the only warm-up match to be beamed live by the host broadcasters of the World Twenty20 that opens on Tuesday.
"We knew that if India could post a huge total, so could we," said Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez. "Kamran was exceptional, and Malik s experience also helped."
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the batting worked well, but the bowlers needed to contain runs on the easy-paced wickets.
"It was not really a bad game for us," he said. "We have got to work on a few things with our bowling."
India and Pakistan are drawn in different groups for the preliminary league, but are seeded to meet in the Super Eights round in Colombo on September 30.