UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Except for the former skipper Virat Kohli, the rest of India’s batters didn’t stack up as high individual scores, so their strategy of attempting to hit everything out of sight didn’t quite work out as they had hoped. India’s spinners weren’t as effective as their Pakistani counterparts in the bowling department, which ultimately determined the outcome.
The cornerstone of Pakistan’s run chase was opening 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.
The Indian batsmen got off to the right start, trying to force the quick bowlers out of the attack. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul immediately completed the task, but neither persisted for a sufficient amount of time, as India has a propensity to do in recent games.
India’s attack in the Powerplay received many plaudits, which is all well deserved. However, given the compressed nature of the game, one of the two openers must be that batter in a 20-over match where the requirement for one batter to stay longer cannot be overstated.
While Kohli performed his part once more, Rahul, the second opener from the far side, had to step up once the two openers reached their mid-20s.
Rizwan, Pakistan’s opener, handled all the pressure, particularly after Babar Azam was once more cheaply dismissed. He led Pakistan to a position from where the lower middle-order had ample room to get the needed runs, despite some setbacks late in the plot, even though they were brought to the penultimate delivery.
Pandya’s early departure did affect India’s final score. Still, the run rate declined already before his dismissal, and while Kohli kept up the pressure, none of the other players came near.
Even the brawny Suryakumar Yadav could not hold out for too long. On the other hand, Rishabh Pant appeared to be very rusty and obviously having trouble running.
Despite receiving a thorough beating in the first six overs and beyond, the Pakistani bowlers were able to force the Indian bowlers to the crease to bat. Fakhar Zaman gave Bishnoi two crucial boundaries at the fence, but the final score fell far short of what it ought to have been.
Except for Nawaz, the Pakistani bowlers could not be persuaded to bat by the Indian bowlers, although it was not their fault. Dravid and the rest of the coaching staff are somewhat teased by the subject, who will bowl for India to make it a potent attack.
By a wide margin, this attack is not India’s best. India will frequently need to produce enormous totals if the current bowling is required to defend runs because of the quality of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and even Deepak Chahar’s absence.
Pakistan’s gritty performance
All-rounder Pandya ought to enter the game to bowl after the top five players have contributed, but it did not happen in this instance. Although he often strikes, don’t mistake his propensity for a strong bowling attack or defence.
Regarding the fielding, With Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali batting, the boundary runners were placed two to three yards inside the fence, presumably as a defence against the twos. Rizwan and perhaps one or two more Pakistani batsmen apart, sprinting between the wickets is not their strong suit, according to what we know about their batting.
They enjoy hitting boundaries, and because the Indians were in from the fence, there were at least two fours that could have been reduced to one run or even two.
The Indian spinners could not compare to the Pakistani spinners, which were leagues ahead of them. Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan both had strong periods, with Nawaz returning 1/25 and Shadab firmly applying the breaks with 2/31.
Chahal is India’s top spinner, and on a surface that wasn’t always reliable, more is expected of him. On the other hand, the unrefined Ravi Bishnoi was significantly better with 1/26, but he simply lacks the variety to have a significant influence.
The fact that the India-Pakistan drama is even at one match each will undoubtedly excite the Asian Cricket Council and the broadcasters.
There are now two more games for any team, though, with a resurgent Sri Lanka and an ever-dangerous Afghanistan still in the mix.
Even if the money-makers would like an India-Pakistan final, these two teams might disagree with that. That certainly would throw a wrench in the works!
Pakistan 182 for 5 (Rizwan 71, Nawaz 42) beat India 181 for 7 (Kohli 60, Rahul 28, Rohit 28, Shadab 2-31) by five wickets.