India thrashed Pakistan by five wickets with a professional display in the field during the fourth game of Asia Cup 2016 at Mirpur stadium today.
Pakistan’s paltry total of 83 was never going to challenge the Indian batting line-up, and it was the fourth wicket stand of 68 between Yuvraj and Kohli that took their team close to victory.
Virat Kohli was the highest scorer for India, and his 49 off 51 kept Pakistan bowlers at bay.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir gave his side a great start by taking three wickets early, but the rest of the bowlers couldn’t get the breakthrough when needed.
|India v Pakistan|
|India: 85/5 (15.3/20 over)|
|Pakistan: 83 (17.3/20 over)|
Mohammad Sami brought some excitement into the match when he took two wickets in the 15th over to delay the inevitable.
Pandya guided the ball into the hands of first slip where Mohammad Hafeez took a juggling catch. Virat Kohli missed his half century as he was trapped in front by Sami with a quick in-swinger.
India’s fourth wicket partnership of 50 between Yuvraj and Kohli steadied their innings, and knocked the wind out of Pakistan’s sails.
Both Yuvi and Kohli kept out the good balls and punished anything loose when the opportunity presented itself.
The ninth over bowled by Wahab Riaz produced 15 runs, and the pendulum swung towards India.
Pakistan kept Indian batters honest as Mohammad Amir made the hard new ball count to rock India in their chase.
Amir got his third wicket of the night when Raina was dismissed in the third over for only a single run. Raina’s poor choice of shot resulted in his downfall.
Pakistan bowlers were operating with a spring in their steps!
India lost their second wicket in the fourth ball of the chase as Mohammad Amir’s swing was too good for Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane tried to defend on the leg side but was struck plumb in front.
Mohammad Amir struck with his second ball and he got the big wicket of Rohit Sharma for a two-ball duck. Amir’s delivery swung in late to deceive the India opener.
Earlier, India restricted Pakistan to their third-lowest T20I total with a brilliant show in the field. Pakistan limped to 83 all out.
India’s Hardik Pandya took three wickets for eight runs in 3.3 overs. Jadeja captured two while Nehra, Bumrah and Yuvral took one each.
For Pakistan, it was a miserable day with the bat as only two managed to reach double-digit in terms of runs. Sarfaraz Ahmed top-scored with 25.
Pandya polished off the Pakistan tail in the 18 th over. He sent back Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Amir in two balls to give his side the upper hand going into the innings break.
Jadeja came back in the 16th over to hammer another nail into Pakistan’s coffin. Sarfaraz Ahmed was clean bowled by the Indian spinner after he played a good hand under the circumstances.
Sarfaraz managed to score 25 from 29 with three hits across the fence.
Pakistan lost their seventh wicket in the 12th over, and the match seemed over as far as they were concerned.
Ravindra Jadeja made Wahab Riaz pay for his sweep shot. The ball angled in, batsman missed and was struck in front. Umpire raised his finger without much delay.
Pakistan seven down and sinking…
India were well on truly on top after Pakistan’s batting line-up imploded under the pressure of the occasion.
Shahid Afridi ran himself out when he took on the arm of Jadeja from square leg. Afridi played the ball through square leg and took a single easily enough, he wanted the second and Jadeja's throw to Dhoni was so quick and Afridi was yards out despite putting in a full length dive.
Afridi fell for two in the 8th over.
Umar Akmal was deceived by the straighter ball from Yuvraj Singh and was sent back to the pavilion for only three runs.
Yuvraj struck in the eighth over to the delight of his teammates.
Shoaib Malik failed to make an impression on today’s game as he was dismissed for four runs from 12 balls in the seventh over by Pandya. Malik went for an expansive drive and got a chunky edge to the keeper.
Poor running between the wickets resulted in Khurram Manzoor’s wicket. He was out in the sixth over, and Pakistan were sliding.
Pakistan failed to get into third gear as the wicket of Sharjeel Khan pegged back the scoring rate. Bumrah got one to bounce more, and the thick edge flew quickly to Rahane at wide slip.
Sharjeel fell for seven runs.
Pakistan lost their opener in the first over bowled by Ashish Nehra as Mohammad Hafeez was got an edge to the keeper Dhoni. The ball took off from short of length, Hafeez stayed in the crease and wafted at it.
India bowlers looked sharp and used the new, hard ball beautifully.
India captain MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl first against Pakistan led by Shahid Afridi in the fourth match of Asia Cup 2016 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur.
Some have billed today’s high-octane match as a contest between India’s batsmen and Pakistan’s quicks.
One of those quicks is Mohammad Amir, who has bowled only 107 balls against India so far. Their batsmen will have to assess him quickly, and he them.
India and Pakistan meet once again in Mirpur today, an appetiser to their forthcoming World Twenty20 clash in Dharamsala on March 19.
The build-up has not had the hype of the Adelaide game in the 2015 World Cup, but no one will expect it to be anything but fiercely contested.
As has happened in the past, political tension between the two countries had sidelined a bilateral series that was supposed to take place in December 2015.
So here in Bangladesh they meet and add to a series of one-off contests dating back to the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.
The last time India and Pakistan played a bilateral series was in 2012-13 - two T20Is and three ODIs.
There is no shortage of emotion and expectation from fans around the world, even without the lure of an Asia Cup trophy.
It's a little harder to gauge the pulse of the players themselves though. Virat Kohli was democratic. "There is a lot of hype, which is exciting for the people. But on the field it's the same as playing any other team."
Shoaib Malik made the average person feel closer to the team. "People from both countries enjoy this encounter and they want their team to win. The cricketers are the same, they give their best and enjoy the contest a lot."
On some level, it seems Saturday may just be a bit of sparring bout before the main event at the World T20.
MS Dhoni (Captain, Wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, JJ Bumrah, S Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, RA Jadeja, V Kohli, B Kumar, P Negi, A Nehra, HH Pandya, PA Patel†, AM Rahane, SK Raina, RG Sharma and Yuvraj Singh
Shahid Afridi (Captain), Anwar Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz (3), Mohammad Sami, Sarfraz Ahmed (Wicketkeeper), Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz