Finally, after 13 attempts in World Cups, Pakistan got a win over their neighbours India and it proved to be a historic one. Shaheen Afridi set the tone for the team in green with two early wickets of the Indian openers and it was followed by a 10-wicket victory by Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam. This became the first time that Pakistan won by 10 wickets in a T20I and India lost by 10 wickets in the format.
Let’s see how the match unfolded.
SHAHEEN AFRIDI’S FIELD DAY AT DUBAI
The way Shaheen Afridi bowled with the new ball was exceptional. He proved yet again that he is one of the best bowlers in the world. The two wicket deliveries to Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were unplayable and no batter would have found it easy to keep them away.
He got India down to 6 for 2 in just 2.1 overs and from there, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Indian team. Shaheen came back for his fourth over late in the innings and got the prized wicket of the Indian captain. His spell of 3/31 was enough for him to take the Player of the Match award home.
BABAR AND RIZWAN SHOW THEIR CLASS
If you look at the history of Pakistan cricket, you’d find one thing in common. More often than not, their bowlers have stepped up but it was their batters who crumbled under pressure. They let the emotions get the better of them and that resulted in the 12 straight defeats to the Indian team in World Cups.
This is where this Pakistan team was a bit different. They are led by a calm leader in Babar Azam who has an eccentric opening partner in Mohammad Rizwan. The openers complement each other and it showed in this game. They ran hard between wickets and took the odd risk to score consistent boundaries. They played a chanceless inning and helped Pakistan register a mammoth 10-wicket victory.
BATTING SECOND AN ADVANTAGE AT DUBAI
Pitches in this T20 World Cup won’t be ones where teams would be hoping for 200 plus runs. Reading the conditions is the key to success in this World Cup especially in Dubai. We saw in this game how the ball was holding a bit in the wicket in the first innings and hitting through the line seemed next to impossible.
As the dew set in, the pitch became a tad faster and the ball started coming onto the bat a bit better. Dew will continue to be a factor in the future games, hence captains winning the toss at Dubai would be looking to bowl first as it will give them a bit of an advantage.
KING KOHLI WITH ANOTHER T20 WC HALF-CENTURY
Team India can be happy with the way they rebuilt in this match after losing three wickets in the powerplay. Credit needs to be given to captain Kohli who steadied the ship for his team. They needed someone to play a mature knock and Kohli stepped up in that regard.
There were plenty of talks regarding his role in the T20 format but in conditions like you’d get in the UAE, players like Kohli become key. This was his third consecutive half-century against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup and it was the first time he got dismissed against them in the competition.
A LONG BREAK NOW FOR TEAM INDIA TO REBUILD
Team India have come into this World Cup with virtually no break. They had a long series in England which was followed by a gruelling Indian T20 League season. They now have six days to recover before their next game. The break could be key for the team to regroup and for players like Hardik Pandya, who is nursing an injury to recover.
The team needs to have a good look at their bowling combination as against Pakistan it seemed lacklustre. They need to find a way of getting another slower bowler in the XI and need to monitor the form of players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Suryakumar Yadav, before going into the match against New Zealand on October 31.