Ashraf Ali Siddiqui describes a tense finish
It looked quite obvious that Pakistan was rearing to go and avenge their defeat in last week’s match. This is precisely what happened and Pakistan came up smiling at the end of a nail-biting finish. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bowl. Chasing a target of 182, Mohammad Rizwan smashed 71 off 51 balls to propel Pakistan to a five-wicket win over India in an Asia Cup Super-4 clash at the Dubai International Stadium. Pakistan had got off to a shaky start after Babar Azam (14) was dismissed in the fourth over by Ravi Bishnoi. Fakhar Zaman too failed to leave his mark as he was dismissed on a score of 15 by Yuzvendra Chahal. Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz then stitched a crucial partnership, adding 84 runs for the third wicket. Both Rizwan and Nawaz (41) were dismissed in quick succession by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya, respectively. With Pakistan needing 26 off the last two overs, Bhuvneshwar leaked 19 runs in the penultimate over as the match slipped away from India’s grasp.
Earlier, Virat Kohli starred with the bat as India posted a strong total of 181 for seven in 20 overs against Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup Super-4 clash. Kohli hit brilliant 60 off just 44 balls, hitting four boundaries and a six. Kohli crossed the 50-run mark creaming a six over deep midwicket. He eventually got run out after a direct hit from the deep by Asif Ali. He reached his 32nd half-century in 36 balls with a six off pace bowler Mohammad Hasnain. India skipper Rohit Sharma came out all guns blazing to smash pace bowler Naseem Shah for a six and four in the opening over of the match. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had earlier given a strong start, collecting 54 runs in the first five overs. However, India lost a host of wickets that slowed down their momentum in the middle overs. Ravi Bishnoi struck two important boundaries but got a helping hand from Fakhar Zaman, as India ended their innings on a positive note. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan stood out with figures of 2-31 from his four overs.
Pakistan made one change from their 155-run hammering of Hong Kong in the group stage with pace bowler Mohammad Hasnain coming in for the injured Shahnawaz Dahani, who was ruled out due to a suspected side strain. India, who made the Super Four stage with two wins over Pakistan and Hong Kong, have made three changes to their team with Hardik Pandya, who was rested in the previous match, returning to the XI. Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and all-rounder Deepak Hooda make the team in place of Ravindra Jadeja, who was forced out of the tournament with an injured knee, and Avesh Khan, who is recovering from illness. The bitter rivals play each other only in multi-nation tournaments due to political tensions. The top two teams at the end of the Super Four stage will play the final at the same venue on 11 September. The tournament is a prelude to the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia. TW