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Asia Cup: How Pakistan Got The Better Of Arch-Rivals India

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By: Navneet Mundhra | BENGALURU
Updated: September 5, 2022 8:01
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Avenging their defeat in the league round, Pakistan on Sunday chased down 182 in 19.5 overs in a cliffhanger to clinch a five-wicket victory against India. This is Pakistan’s highest successful chase against their arch-rivals in this format. The New Indian looks at 5 important factors which tilted the scales in Pakistan’s favour:

1) Spectacular show by Pakistan’s spinners: Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul lent a blazing start to their team as India cantered to 62 in the first six overs. On the first ball of the 7th over, Rahul skipped down the track against leg-spinner Shadab Khan – who was bowling his first over – and tried to smite him for a six, but was caught at long-on.

His wicket snapped the momentum of the Indian innings. But there was more to come. In the 10th over, the left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz removed India’s most dangerous batsman at present, Suryakumar Yadav, for 13. Shadab later also prised out Rishabh Pant for 14 in the 14th over as the left-hander attempted a reverse-sweep in vain.

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Both the spinners bowled cannily and did not let the Indian batsmen run amok after a blistering start. In their 4 overs, Nawaz and Shadab conceded only 25 and 31 runs, respectively, to restrict India to 181 in 20 overs.

2) Reckless batting by India’s middle-order: It was a pleasant sight to witness Indian openers overhauling their approach and taking on bowlers in the Powerplay. They played their shots with arresting abandon and plundered more than 60 runs in the first 6 overs. However, after they were dismissed in quick succession, batsmen such as Suryakumar, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya could not maintain the tempo and were out cheaply.

Though Virat Kohli held one end steadfastly, the complete failure of three important batsmen in the middle-order meant that India could push the scoring rate in the last 5 overs and scored at least 20 runs less than they should have.

3) Hardik’s no-show: Hardik, the all-rounder, has been India’s best T20I cricketer in 2022 by turning in a slew of scintillating performances, but he came a cropper on Sunday. He attempted to whip the ball from the seamer Mohammad Hasnain but couldn’t keep it down and was sharply caught at mid-wicket in the 15th over. As a bowler, he looked off-colour and was plundered for 44 runs in 4 overs.

India missed his all-round show and their fortunes took a beating due to his no-show.

4) The dependable Rizwan: In the last seven T20I matches Pakistan has played, Rizwan has been the top-scorer in six. This underlines his outstanding consistency and enormous value. While wicket-keeping, Rizwan looked physically unwell due to cramps in the last few overs of India’s innings. But while batting, he cast off the fatigue & cramps and reeled off a sparkling innings.

He started off by cutting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a boundary on the first ball and then wisely held Pakistan’s innings together. While he didn’t indulge in wild slogging, he kept the required run rate under control by judiciously clocking up boundaries at regular intervals. His 51-ball 71 was embellished with six boundaries and two sixes.

5) Mohammad Nawaz’s all-round ‘bounty’: While Rizwan paced his innings perceptively like an elder statesman, Nawaz packed a hard wallop by launching an audacious attack on Indian bowlers. The left-hander was promoted up the order after the fall of the second wicket, but expectations from him were meagre. Nawaz started by thumping Pandya for a six over the long-on, then tonked six fours and one more six.

The Indian bowlers were left bamboozled by his stinging assault as Nawaz cracked a 20-ball 42. He was a perfect foil for Rizwan and took the pressure off him. His innings was supremely impactful and certainly the turning point of the match.

Earlier, his miserly spell was instrumental in putting the brakes on the Indian innings.

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