IND vs NZ, ICC World Cup 2023: India elected to bowl first after Rohit Sharma won the toss against unbeaten New Zealand in their world cup match in Dharamshala.
Asia Cup 2023, India vs Pakistan: When the Indian selectors named the squad for the ongoing Asia Cup, all eyes were on KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who were returning from long injury lay-offs. Infact, Rahul is yet to recover and has been sidelined for the first two games. In the scenario, young wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan was tipped as a back-up option for the initial few games.
On Saturday in the crunch opening contest against a pace-heavy Pakistan, the Jharkhand lad grabbed the opportunity with both hands by scoring a calculative half century and rescuing India from a batting collapse, thereby throwing his hat into the ring for the crucial middle order spot that has been up for the grabs in the run-up to the ICC World Cup, next month.
Kishan (82) joined forces with senior partner and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (87) with a 138-run fifth wicket stand to resurrect India’s shaky start and eventually post a competitive 266 in 48.5 overs before the drizzle returned at the Pallekele International Stadium, near Kandy, eventually turning the contest into an anti-climax as Pakistan’s chase never got off.
Electing to bat on a cloudy afternoon with 70 percent predictions of rain, India were tottering at 66 for 4 after losing the top four in Rohit Sharma (11), Virat Kohli (4), Shubman Gill (10) and Shreyas Iyer (14) against a top quality Pakistani pace attack led by the lanky Shaheen Shah Afridi (4/35), along with Haris Rauf (3/58) and Naseem Shah (3/36).
Two rain interruptions in the middle also added to lapse of concentration for the Indian batting order, as Rohit departed immediately after the first break that lasted for 33 minutes and Kohli too departed in single digits. Shaheen, who usually finds banana swing or seam with the new ball, took down Rohit and Kohli in successive overs in the powerplay.
As India crawled to 51, the second interruption hit and on resumption, cost India the wickets of Shubman and Shreyas after a promising start.
Reduced to 66 for 4 by the 15th over, India desperately needed some solidity in the middle and it all depended on the fifth wicket partnership between Kishan and Pandya to help the Men-in-blue arrest the faulty start. Despite Shaheen and Rauf scything through India’s top order, Kishan batted with attacking enterprise, and got good support from his senior partner at the other end.
Kishan arrived at the crease at the fall of Iyer, with India struggling at 48/3 and started off cautiously meddling the odd balls. The southpaw gradually got into attacking mode when he hit the first six of the innings by leaping off his feet and scything an upper cut over deep third off Rauf. He soon brought up his fourth successive ODI half century off 54 balls inviting a standing ovation from Kohli.
At the other end, Pandya took some time to get his eyes in, and allowed the left-handed stumper to open up before registering his half century in style. The duo departed in quick succession but Ravindra Jadeja (14) and Jasprit Bumrah (16) ensured that the Indian team crossed the 250-run mark before being restricted in the 49th over.
Pakistan’s innings never got off as incessant rain forced the umpires to call off the contest.