A strong and disciplined bowling performance followed by a brilliant batting helped India thrash arch-rival Pakistan by eight wickets in their Group A clash of the Asia Cup 2018. In the first PowerPlay, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah’s disciplined line and length frustrated Pakistan openers to play some poor shots as they gifted their wickets early in the game.
While Imam-ul-Haq was sent back due to his poor shot selection, Fakhar Zaman departed while playing a pull shot on Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling.
After two early wickets, Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam established Pakistan’s innings by adding 82 runs for the third wicket. Kuldeep Yadav brought India back into the game by removing Azam and soon Pakistan’s batting line-up collapsed.
From India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who also won the Man of the Match award, was the star performer. Bhuvneshwar bagged three wickets including both Pakistan openers. All-rounder Kedar Jadhav (23 for 3 wickets) also shone with the ball. Jasprit Numrah took two wickets and Kuldeep Yadav one.
Following a meagre target of 162 runs, India won the match in just 29 overs with eight wickets to spare.
The match between the arch-rivals was among one of the most hyped cricket clashes of this year and here are five talking points from the game:
Star Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was kept out of the five-match Test series against England, has returned to international cricket after sustaining a back injury. And it seems Kumar had found a perfect way to make his comeback known by claiming three wickets against arch-rival Pakistan on Wednesday.
Bhuvesnhwar Kumar dismantled Pakistan’s upper batting order by removing both openers early. The 28-year-old pacer first got Imam-ul-Haq (2) caught behind in his second over and then in his next over scalped Fakhar Zaman for a duck. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a brilliant spell of seven overs picking up three wickets and conceded just 15 runs.
Bhuvneshwar also played in India’s first Group match against Hong Kong but he was a bit rusty with the ball on Tuesday (18 September).
Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik
Pakistan’s number three and number four batsmen Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik established their innings after two early dismissals and added 82 runs. On Thursday, Pakistan was in big trouble after losing two wickets in five overs for three runs. Babar Azam (47) and Malik’s (43) confident innings helped Pakistan to post a respectable total of 162 runs in the fifth match of Asia Cup 2018.
All-rounder Kedar Jadhav is another Indian player who has returned to the national team after suffering from an injury. Jadhav was given the balls on Thursday after Hardik Pandya got injured. Jadhav grabbed the opportunity with both hands by picking three wickets. Kedar Jadhav conceded just 23 runs in his fabulous nine-over spell.
Pakistan’s batting order collapse
Pakistani openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman are the foundations of Pakistan’s batting order. However, on Thursday, after Imam and Zaman were removed early without doing much damage, Pakistan’s vulnerable middle-order was exposed and the viewers witnessed a batting collapse by World’s number fifth team in ICC ODI ranking.
Other than Babar Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43), Faheem Ashraf was the only Pakistani player to cross the mark of 20 runs.
Rohit Sharma’s captain’s knock
On Thursday, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant half-century against Pakistan and helped India clinch the match.
Though Rohit Sharma had failed to put up a good show against Hong Kong but the hitman was in explosive form against Pakistan. Rohit Sharma scored 52 runs off 39 balls with a strike rate of 133.33.