Sunday, 13 March 2016

#AsiaCup: India vs Pakistan

Here comes the match no. 4 in Asia Cup. Whole world was eagerly for it. Yes, it was India vs Pakistan. People were more excited for this match than the tournament as a whole. India and Pakistan play each other occasionally but whenever they play, the game becomes more energetic. History between the two countries add more emotions to the India vs Pakistan tie. In India defeat against Pakistan is considered as the biggest defeat. If India loose the tournament, it's OK but they are not allowed to loose against Pakistan. Whenever India has met Pakistan there has been a great contest between bat and ball. It has always been India's batting vs Pakistan's bowling. In this match as well the teams were like that only. India had star studded batting line-up while Pakistan had some great swing bowlers. Above that the conditions at Mirpur were favouring the fast bowlers. So Pakistan's fast bowlers were ready to give tough time to Indian batsmen.

India won the toss and Dhoni elected to bowl first. Hafeez & Sharjeel Khan came out to bat for Pakistan. Dhoni gave the new ball to Nehra. Hafeez defended the first ball but played on the second ball, he played a cover drive for a boundary. Nehra bowled couple of full deliveries first up and realised that Hafeez is quite comfortable with them. Hence he bowled a back of the length delivery and Hafeez nicked one straight to Dhoni. Dhoni took it easily and Pakistan lost its first wicket. Manzoor came in at no. 3. Bumrah shared the new ball with Nehra and he bowled a maiden over first up. Pakistani batsmen decided to attack Nehra to recover from the early blow. They took 11 runs from Nehra's second over. They hit a boundary to Bumrah as well but Bumrah made a tremendous come back with Sharjeel's wicket. After Sharjeel, Shoaib Malik was the next batsman and he bagan his innings in style. He hit a boundary to Bumrah to end that over. In fifth over, Manzoor tried to scoop one over the keeper's head but only managed to get an edge in that attempt. Dhoni took the catch cleanly but umpire gave him not out. Mazoor got a life in that over.

Shoaib Malik began the sixth over with a boundary but ran Manzoor out before the over ended. Pakistan lost its third wicket at the score of 32. Malik gave his wicket in seventh over. It was a wide delivery from Pandya and Malik tried to make most of it but in the end edged it to Dhoni. After that, Dhoni gave the ball to Yuvraj Singh ahead of Ashwin and Jadeja and Yuvraj straight away responded with the wicket of Akmal. Akmal missed a straight delivery from Yuvraj and umpire shown him the way to pavilion. Pakistan lost its half side at the total of 36. After Akmal's wicket, Afridi tested Jadeja's arm in the process of taking two but that experiment was not successful. Jadeja's arm was more powerful than Afridi's legs. Afridi ran himself out. Pakistan was falling apart. The biggest challenge in front of Pakistan was to play 20 overs. Riaz & Sarfraz tried that and stayed there till twelfth over. In tweflth over, Riaz missed a straighter delivery of Jadeja and was adjudged LBW. Pakistan lost its seventh wicket at the total of 52 runs. Then Sarfraz got some runs as he got support from Sami at the other end. He took Pakistan's total to 70 but then Jadeja's quicker delivery knocked his middle stump. Sarfraz made 25 off 24 deliveries and it was almost over for Pakistan. Last two wickets added 13 runs to the total. Pakistan was bowled out on 83 inside 18 overs.

Indian bowlers did a fabulous job. They didn't allow Pakistan's batsmen to settle down. India needed only 84 runs to win the match. Considering India's star studded batting line up, it was a cake walk for them. Rohit Sharma & Ajinkya Rahane came out to chase that total. Afridi gave new ball to the comeback man Mohammad Amir and straight away he started troubling Indian batsmen with his swing. First ball, full outside the off stump. Rohit Sharma survived. Second ball, in-swinging delivery. Rohit Sharma out, leg before wicket. India 0-1. After Rohit Sharma, it was Rahane's turn. Amir bowled an in-swinging delivery to Rahane as well and he also got out in the similar fashion. Indians were 2-2 in the first over. Raina came in at no. 4 and started playing cautiously along with Kohli. Pakistani seamers were swinging the ball both ways and were troubling them a lot. As a result, Raina flicked one straight into the hands of Riaz. Indian was 3 down on 8 runs. Yuvraj was the next man in. It was a great opportunity for him to spend some time at the crease and get his confidence back.

Yuvraj opened his account with a boundary. It was the first boundary of Indian innings. After that full delivery, Irfan & Amir started targeting Yuvraj with short stuff outside the off stump. Yuvraj played those deliveries sensibly. India needed a partnership desperately. In power play, both the batsmen gave respect to Pakistani bowlers. After that, Kohli started finding boundaries. He hit couple of boundaries to Amir in seventh over of the innings. Then Wahab Riaz was introduced in the ninth over. Kohli was well in by then. Thus Wahab Riaz was hammered for three boundaries in that over. Two boundaries were hit by Kohli and one by Yuvraj. India crossed 50 run mark in that over. Those boundaries took the pressure off Yuvraj and It allowed Yuvraj to spend some time at the crease. After that over, it looked like that these two batsmen will take India home. They carried on well till 76 but then Kohli was adjuged LBW on one of the deliveries of Sami. Kohli has edged it but umpire thought he has missed it completely, thus raised his finger.

Kohli got out on 49. India was just 8 runs away from the famous win. Then Hardik Pandya came in ahead of Dhoni and straight away he nicked one to the first slip. He got out for a duck and India was 5 down on 76. Dhoni was welcomed at the crease with a WOW. Actually it was the over so far wicket(W) zero(0) wicket(W). He finished the game in typical Dhoni style with a boundary through covers. India registered a 5 wicket win over Pakistan. If Pakistan has scored around 130, they had a great chance to win the match. On the other end, India gained some great positives from this match. First, Indian bowlers restricted Pakistan to 83 and second, Yuvraj spent some good time at the crease. And big players like him need that only to get their form and confidence back. It was an advantage for India before #Wt20. With this win, India put a step forward towards Asia Cup final. India was just a win away from the place in the final of Aisa Cup.

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