Ashraf Ali Siddiqi casts a glance at a classic sporting rivalry
In a final over nail-biter, India edged Pakistan by five wickets in their Asia Cup 2022 clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The match was widely watched both in India and Pakistan with the audiences made to sit at the edges of their seats. The match was a low-scoring match and it so happened that chasing 148 proved a difficult target for the Indian team. The Indian team was jolted right at the outset when debutant Naseem Shah got rid of KL Rahul. Despite this upset India managed to get runs scored by Virat Kohli (35), Ravindra Jadeja (35) and more importantly, Hardik Pandya (33 not out off 17balls ) who stayed till the end and hit a six with just two balls left to get India over the line.
Earlier, Pakistan’s susceptibility against bouncy deliveries, which had long existed but not troubled them in recent times — at least not in Dubai — was superbly exploited by India to restrict them to just 147. The Indian cricket team unleashed a barrage of bouncers and short-pitched deliveries at Green Shirts, who acted like fish out of water, kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually mustered just 147 runs all-out. Rizwan was the top scorer with 43 and Iftikhar chipped in with 28, although it was number 11 batsman Shahnawaz Dahani who drew the biggest cheers, thanks to his cameo of 16 runs off just six balls laced with two much-needed sixes. It is commented that both sides could have done well but somehow their performance remained restricted indicating that they were overwhelmed by nerves. The tentative nature of the match speaks volumes about the lack of professional maturity of both Indian and Pakistan teams.
The Dubai Sports City stadium hosted yet another historic encounter between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, as the cricketing giants took on each other in their Asia Cup 2022 fixture tonight. A suspension of bilateral cricket ties between the two neighbours has resulted in them playing only nine T20 International matches in 16 years of the shortest format’s existence. India has managed to pull off seven wins whereas Pakistan has only won twice. Irrespective of allegiance, an India-Pakistan game is watched all across the world and the focus of the cricketing globe is on the 22 men that take the field. TW