Amit Mishra has often journeyed with the Indian team without being anything more than a bystander, but playing his first T20 International in almost four years here on Friday, he was anything but one.

The leg-spinner returned figures of two for 22 from his four overs, a pivotal factor in India’s seven-wicket defeat of Pakistan in the opening Super-10 fixture of the ICC World Twenty20 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

Better understanding

“I performed well in the Asia Cup but we couldn’t beat Pakistan. I’m happy we won now,” Mishra said.

“I have worked a lot on my fitness and increased my variations. That is helping me. I’ve tried to understand my own game better.”

The 31-year-old said he was unfazed by having to wait so long for time on the field.

“It’s disappointing to sit out, no doubt, but I’m really happy I’m here now. I always think about the positives and try to improve. I don’t worry about sitting out.”

The captain, M.S. Dhoni, had encouraged him a great deal, Mishra stated. “Dhoni said I should stick to what was my strength. My strength is to beat batsmen with flight and spin. It worked for me today. If you think about stopping runs, you can’t stop runs. You have to think of taking wickets,” he said.

Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez, meanwhile, denied that facing India in global tournaments induced any sort of mental block. “It’s not in our thinking that we can’t beat India. It’s all history.

Unable to break streak

“We wanted to win today but we couldn’t break that streak,” he said.

“We wanted a total of 150 plus. We got some momentum with the partnership between Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik but we couldn’t sustain it. Credit must go to Amit Mishra.”

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