Pakistan Disarm Indian bowlers to reach 182 in T20 Asia Cup
Aamir Ali Janjua
Dubai (UAE):-A superlative half-century by Mohammad Rizwan and a 20-ball cameo by Mohammad Nawaz earned Pakistan a clinical and methodical five wickets victory over India in the Super-4 match of the ACC T20 Asia Cup here on Sunday night.
Rizwan overcame a knee injury, which he sustained while keeping wickets, to top-score with a 51-ball 71 and Nawaz slapped six fours and two sixes in a swashbuckling 42 as Pakistan achieved the 182-run target with five wickets and one ball to spare. In the Group A match last week, India had defeated Pakistan by five wickets with two balls remaining.
Babar Azam was dismissed early when he fell for a 10-ball 14 and Fakhar Zaman’s uneasy stay ended with an 18-ball 15, but Rizwan and Nawaz put on 73 runs for the third wicket to ensure Pakistan stayed in contention and ultimately romped home with calculated and precise scoring and hitting.
Although Rizwan and Nawaz departed in a space of 11 runs, and Asif Ali fell with two runs required in two balls for victory, Iftikhar Ahmed hit Arshdeep Singh over his head for two runs to seal a memorable victory for Pakistan – only their third in 11 meetings.
Asif Ali, who survived a caught behind appeal and then was dropped the very next ball by Singh in the 18th over, did his job by scoring 16 off eight balls that included a six and a four in the penultimate over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, which yielded 19 runs after Pakistan had required 26 runs in the last two overs. Khushdil Shah finished with an 11-ball 14 not out, while Iftikhar scored the winning two runs.
Rizwan was simply magnificent with the bat, demonstrating his wide range of shots to all parts of the park. Despite struggling with a bad knee, Rizwan was as quick as a hare, converting ones into twos and twos into three. He was caught at long-off off Hardik Pandiya when Pakistan needed 35 runs in 19 balls.
Nawaz proved his promotion was a masterstroke by the team management when he took on the bowlers with precise shot-selection and found the boundary at regular intervals. The left-hander was caught at long-off off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 16th over when Pakistan needed 46 runs for victory.
Earlier, Pakistan burst the bubble of India’s highly-rated middle-order when they conceded 88 runs in the last 10 overs and picked up four wickets to restrict the defending champions to 181 for seven, which, at one stage was looking over 200 after the Men in Blue had sprinted to 62 for one in the PowerPlay overs and then reached 93 for three at the halfway stage.
The shrewd Pakistan bowlers, led by spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan and well supported by the quicks, held the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda by the scruff of their necks in the middle overs to allow them to collectively score 43 runs from 38 balls. Had Fakhar Zaman not showed butter fingers in the last two deliveries and given away two boundaries when it should have been a run and a wicket, Pakistan could have limited India to inside 175.
Yadav (13) was caught attempting to sweep outside the off-stumps, Pant (14) felt to an over-adventurous reverse sweep, Pandya (0) was surprised by Mohammad Hasnain’s pace and was caught at short mid-wicket and Hooda (16) tried to hit Naseem Shah outside the venue only to be brilliantly caught by Nawaz at mid-wicket.
Nonetheless, India was able to absorb the failure of its over-rated middle-order after Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had provided their side a flying 54-run start in five overs and then Kohli anchored the innings until he was run-out in the final over of the innings.
Sharma struck three fours and two sixes in a 16-ball 28, while Rahul struck a four and two sixes in his 20-ball 28.
Kohli played a typical Kohli innings, which was full of confidence, excellent shot-selection and quick running between the wickets. The champion batter scored 60 runs off 44 balls, which also included four eloquent boundaries and a six off Naseem that brought his 32nd half-century.
Kohli was run-out by a direct throw from Asif Ali from fine-leg, a dismissal Pakistan retrospectively may regret after Fakhar Zaman conceded two boundaries off the final two balls from Ravi Bishnoi’s willow.
Pakistan bowlers bounced back strongly after being on the receiving end in the first half of the innings.
Nawaz was outstanding, finishing with figures of 4-0-25-1, Shadab Khan was crafty while recording figures of 4-0-31-2, while Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain bowled their hearts out and returned identical figures of 4-0-38-1. Naseem Shah had a forgettable match after an impressive debut against the same opposition and at the same venue last week as he went for 45 off his four overs.
Pakistan will now play Afghanistan in Sharjah on Wednesday, while their last Super-4 match will be against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Friday.
Scores in brief:
India 181-7, 20 overs (Virat Kohli 60, KL Rahul 28, Rohit Sharma 28; Shadab Khan 2-31, Mohammad Nawaz 1-25)
Pakistan 182-5, 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 71, Mohammad Nawaz 42, Asif Ali 16, Fakhar Zaman 15, Khushdil Shah 14 not out, Babar Azam 14)
Player of the match – Mohammad Nawaz (Pakistan)