BANGALORE, Dec 26: Playing down the face-off between Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma and Pakistan batsman Kamran Akmal in the first Twenty20 International here on Tuesday, rival captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mohammad Hafeez claimed it was a minor argument which ended with an exchange of smiles between the two warring players.

A heated argument erupted between Sharma and Kamran and the umpires had to step in to separate them and continue with the thrilling game which Pakistan won by five wickets two balls to spare at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

The two got into an argument when Shoaib Malik was declared not out after he was caught off a no ball by Sharma, and then Kamran was beaten on the next ball.

Soon both players exchanged a few angry words and wagged fingers at each other before umpires and the Indian fielders intervened and separated both of them.

“It happened because of some misunderstanding between the two. The bowler said something else and the batsman understood something else. I am pleased that Ishant had not abused him. We will try to keep this in check,” Dhoni said.

His opposite number Hafeez said the players doused the issue on the ground itself.

“We have come here to play competitive cricket and such incidents do happen. It is a part of the game. However, Ishant and Kamran ended the issue on the ground by exchanging smiles at each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dhoni said the failure of middle-order batsmen to capitalise on the good start provided by openers led to India’s defeat.

“The batsmen got out trying to play big shots. We could have easily scored 200 if we had applied ourselves,” Dhoni complained.

Hafeez said the team played according to a plan and targeted India’s part-time spinners — Yuvraj Singh and Jadeja — who are not world-class bowlers.

“I know they are in good form, but they are not world-class spinners. And hence we planned to dominate them after seeing off pacers early on,” Hafeez said.

He said after Pakistan lost three early wickets and were struggling at 12-3 in three overs, he and Malik decided to play off debutant paceman Bhuvnes-hwar Kumar. “Malik showed great character and we built a partnership after we lost those early wickets.”—Agencies

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