Euro 2020 Special
 

India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022 Review: Pakistan Win the Thrilling Re-Match

For the second time in a week a match between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup was decided in the final balls in Dubai. But whereas India had won their group match, it was Pakistan who came out on top in their Super Four contest.

They will now consider themselves favourites to make next Sunday’s final, whilst India still have work to do if they want to join them.

 

Match recap

Pakistan won the toss and on a pitch traditionally favouring the chasing side, chose to field first.

India were given a decent start by the pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who put in 54 for the first wicket, and then Virat Kohli continued his resurgence with 60 before he was run out.  However, India lacked anybody who could stay with him for any length of time, with several players getting in, only to then lose their wickets.

It meant that they did not really pick up pace towards the end of the innings, and the experience of the injured Ravindra Jadeja was a big miss.

Their final total of 181/7 was competitive, but not necessarily decisive.

Shadab Khan was again the best of the Pakistan bowlers with 2 – 31.

Although captain Babar Azam again disappointed with the bat for Pakistan, making just 14, his vice skipper made another fine innings on this ground, making 71 off 51 balls, including 2 sixes and 6 fours.

He also found an able partner in Mohammad Nawaz, who smashed 42 off just 20 balls, including 2 sixes of his own, with the pair adding 73 for the third wicket.

When Rizwan was dismissed in the 17th over, Pakistan were well up with the asking rate, but with the finish line in sight, nerves got the better of them, and they began to tighten up. In the end, though, Iftikhar Ahmed hit the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the match, as Pakistan won by five wickets.

Here are some key talking points from the match:

 

India selection issues

With Jadeja ruled out through injury and Avesh Khan unavailable due to a fever, India were forced to make changes to their side, but the decision to leave Dinesh Karthik raised eyebrows – much as the omission of Rishabh Pant had in the first game.

The 37-year-old has been in fine form in 2022, and his performances in the Indian T20 league had earned him a  recall to the India side. Arguably, India missed his ability as a finisher in this match, because he could have helped them post a total beyond the reach of the opposition.

If Jadeja is fit for the World Cup, then it looks to be a straight fight between Pant and Karthik for the wicketkeeper-batter role.

 

Bishnoi’s surprise inclusion

There was also some surprise that young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi was chosen ahead of the more experienced Ravichandran Ashwin, or Axar Patel, the logic being that Pakistan had three left-handed batters and he could be a game changer.

Bishnoi bowled well enough and was the most economical of all the Indian bowlers for his one wicket, but did not have a major say in the outcome of the match. To be fair to him he would have had better figures had Arshdeep Singh not dropped a sitter of him in the 18th over.

Arguably that was the turning point of the match because the man he dropped, Asif Ali, went on to make 16 off 8 balls.

 

Kohli revival continues

One of the plus points for India from this match was another good innings from former captain Virat Kohli, who finally appears to be playing himself into form just in time for the World Cup. His summer break appears to have rejuvenated him and any lingering questions about his place in the side have now been dispelled.

 

Fine Margins

Both matches between the two teams have been close and might have gone either way, so India should not be panicking at this stage. Had Singh taken that match off Bishnoi, India might have won this game, whilst the first match equally could have gone Pakistan’s way.

 

What happens next?

India play Sri Lanka on Tuesday on the same ground, knowing that a win is vital to maintain their interest in the tournament. The following day, Pakistan will look to guarantee their final place by beating Afghanistan.

   

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