The Men in Blue were in the driving seat for the majority of the recently-concluded India vs Pakistan encounter from the Asia Cup Super Four stage. The first innings of the match saw captain Rohit Sharma hammer the young Naseem Shah in the opening over of the match for a maximum. Opening partner KL Rahul joined the onslaught to thrash the bowling attack. Despite losing both these men before the 10th over, Virat Kohli made sure India were still on track with his phenomenal 60 in 44 balls. Kohli’s massive contribution helped India set a target of 182 for the Men in Green.
One would think that this should have been an easy win for India. So what went wrong in the India vs Pakistan? How did the Men in Blue concede this victory? We find out.
Losing openers in quick succession
Skippers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul’s thorough thrashing in the opening overs helped India score their fastest 50 against Pakistan; it only took both batters 26 balls to reach the mark. Sharma smashing a boundary and a six off Naseem Shah in the first over bolstered India’s chances from the get-go. With KL Rahul joining the hard-hitting fest, things looked dire for Pakistan.
However, a tricky ball by Shadab Khan to Sharma forced the Indian captain to go for another maximum, only to be caught by the fielder in mid-off. KL Rahul soon followed an over later. This helped Pakistan gain control of the India vs Pakistan match that looked like slipping away.
No support for Virat Kohli
Perhaps the only positive takeaway from India’s defeat is Virat Kohli’s comeback. Kohli was going through a major slump that made us all question his selection over other players. However, in the 2022 Asia Cup, Kohli’s resurrection was for all to see. An impressive 35 against Pakistan in the group stage, followed by a 59* against Hong Kong was Kohli’s recent form heading into this match.
After the openers were dismissed, Kohli took command of the pitch as he began with flair. However, with no support at the non-striker’s end, there was only so much Kohli could do. Suryakumar Yadav lost his wicket to a poorly timed shot whereas, Rishabh Pant made a blunder that cost him his wicket. Hardik Pandya was perhaps the batter Kohli was counting on but he went out for a duck.
It wasn’t long before all designated batters were out. Kohli was joined by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over of the match after Deepak Hooda’s shot was caught. The 34-year-old was remarkable throughout the innings, scoring 59. In a desperate attempt to retain his strike in the last over, Kohli ran for a double but was run out in the process. This brought an end to his marvellous innings as his 60 helped India set a target of 182, without solid support.
Mohammad Rizwan’s super show
Mohammad Rizwan was instrumental in Pakistan’s run chase. He opened for the Men in Green and stayed for the majority of the second innings on the pitch to punish the Indian bowlers. In a frantic moment, Rizwan almost lost his wicket early on in the match for just four runs in a run-out. However, Lady Luck was on his side as Hardik Pandya missed the stumps by mere inches.
Rizwan went on to smash 71 off 51 balls to give Pakistan the boost. Pandya made amends by dismissing him in the 17th over but it was a day late and a dollar short.
Arshdeep Singh’s blunder
Some might argue that the game was still India’s to lose after the dismissal of Mohammad Rizwan. The keeper-batter did everything in his power to bring his side close to the target. However, his dismissal brought back the hopes of an emphatic second victory over Pakistan. In the 18th over, Ravi Bishnoi bowled to Asif Ali, who mistimed the shot terribly. The ball went up in the air with no extra pace in it. Underneath was the young Arshdeep Singh, who should’ve taken the catch, but dropped it.
The shock could be heard in commentator Ravi Shastri’s voice when he called it a “simple catch” but saw Arshdeep drop it. Captain Sharma was infuriated by the blunder caused by the young Indian. This would surely haunt the 23-year-old as Asif Ali went on to smash 16 off eight balls, which helped Pakistan in the clutch.
Mohammad Nawaz’s player of the match performance
Mohammad Nawaz was awarded player of the match, and rightfully so. Nawaz took the decisive wicket of Suryakumar Yadav in the first innings to thwart the dangers of his partnership with Virat Kohli. Moreover, the 28-year-old took three crucial catches of KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda to further subdue the Indian batting attack.
In the second innings, Nawaz’s aggression was too hot to contain as he went on to smash a whopping 42 off just 20 balls! Six boundaries and a couple of sixes did the trick before Hardik Pandya finally sent him back. His efforts were enough for him to be the player of the match in the India vs Pakistan fixture.
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