UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: With the exception of former skipper Virat Kohli, India’s other hitters didn’t achieve such high individual scores, so their strategy of trying to hit everything out of sight didn’t quite work out as they had hoped. The Indian spinners weren’t as efficient as their Pakistani counterparts in the bowling department which ultimately determined the outcome.

The cornerstone of Pakistan’s chase was to open batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s 71, and Mohammad Nawaz’s inspired promotion to 2-down gave them the impetus they needed to sprint home with one ball remaining .

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The Indian batsmen got off to a good start, trying to force the fast bowlers out of the attack. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul immediately completed the task, but neither persisted long enough, as India tend to do in recent games.

India’s attack in the Powerplay received a lot of applause, which is well deserved. However, given the compressed nature of the game, one of the two openers has to be that hitter in a game at 20 where the requirement for a hitter to stay longer cannot be overstated.

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While Kohli played his part again, Rahul, the second fly-half for the other side, had to step in once both fly-half reached their mid-twenties.

Rizwan, the Pakistani fly-half, handled all the pressure, especially after Babar Azam was once again fired on the cheap. He led Pakistan to a position from which the lower middle order had ample room to get the necessary runs, despite some setbacks late in the plot, even though they were brought to the penultimate delivery.

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Pandya’s early departure affected India’s final score. Still, the run rate had already dwindled before he was fired, and while Kohli kept up the pressure, none of the other players came close.

Even the muscular Suryakumar Yadav couldn’t last too long. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant looked very rusty and was obviously struggling to run.

Despite being beaten deep in the first six overs and beyond, the Pakistani bowlers managed to force the Indian bowlers to strike. Fakhar Zaman gave Bishnoi two crucial limits on the fence, but the final score was well below what it should have been.

With the exception of Nawaz, the Pakistani bowlers could not be persuaded to bat by the Indian bowlers, even though it was not their fault. Dravid and the rest of the coaching staff are somewhat teased on the subject, who will play for India to make a powerful attack out of it.

By far, this attack is not India’s best. India will often have to produce huge totals if the current bowling is needed to defend runs due to the quality of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and even the absence of Deepak Chahar.

Pakistan’s fine performance

The versatile Pandya should enter the game to bowl after the top five players contributed, but that didn’t happen in this case. Although he strikes often, don’t confuse his propensity with a strong bowling offense or defense.

As for the pitch, with Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali at bat, the boundary runners were placed two or three yards inside the fence, presumably as a defense against the two. Rizwan and maybe one or two other Pakistani batsmen aside, sprinting between the wickets is not their forte, as far as we know of their hitter.

They like to hit the limits, and because the Indians were coming from the fence, there were at least two fours that could have been reduced to a run or even two.

Indian spinners could not compare to Pakistani spinners, who were leagues ahead of them. Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan both had strong spells, with Nawaz coming back 1/25 and Shadab applying the breaks firmly with 2/31.

Mohammad Nawaz with the man of the match trophy. Photo credit: Twitter

Chahal is India’s top spinner, and on a surface that hasn’t always been reliable, more is expected of him. In contrast, the unrefined Ravi Bishnoi was significantly better at 1/26, but simply lacks the variety to have a significant influence.

The fact that the Indo-Pakistani drama is even one game apiece will no doubt excite the Asian Cricket Council and the broadcasters.

There are now two more games for any team, however, with a resurgent Sri Lanka and an ever-dangerous Afghanistan still in the mix.

Even though the money makers would like an India-Pakistan final, these two teams might disagree with it. That would definitely throw a spanner in the works!

Pakistan 182 for 5 (Rizwan 71, Nawaz 42) defeated India 181 for 7 (Kohli 60, Rahul 28, Rohit 28, Shadab 2-31) by five wickets.

Also Read: Asian Cup 2022: India vs Pakistan match preview

  • Russell Chattaraj

    Graduated in mechanical engineering, writes about science, technology and sports, teaches physics and math, also played cricket professionally and has a passion for bodybuilding.

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