India Vs Pakistan - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, 27th February 2016 - Asia Cup Match Review
India Beat Pakistan by 5 Wickets with 27 Balls to Spare
The match was being held in Mirpur, Dhaka but cricket fans had thronged to the stadium hours before the match to catch the ‘Mother of All Battles’ take place between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the T20I clash in the Asia Cup 2016. MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bowl first on another green pitch. Dhawan missed out due to a niggle while Pakistan were going in with 4 fast bowlers – Amir, Irfan, Sami and Wahab.
It was clearly to be a battle between the strong Indian batting line up and the fearsome 4 pronged Pakistani pace battery. Pakistan needed a score around 120-130 to be in with a shout on a pitch that has afforded much help to the faster bowlers. Hafeez hit a lovely square drive in the first over but Nehra scalped him on the 4th ball of the first over; the ball bouncing more than expected and took the glove.
Sharjeel Khan and Khurram Manzoor looked to be getting in to a bit of a groove when Bumrah got a slower delivery to bounce more and Sharjeel guided the ball to Rahane standing at a widish slip. Manzoor was then run out when Malik sold him a dummy, Kohli hitting the bulls eye! Malik himself departed in the very next over chasing a wide one off Hardik Pandya. When Yuvraj got Umar Akmal off the very first ball of his spell, Pakistan were tottering at 35-5 in the 8th over. Afridi was run out off the last ball of the same Yuvi over when he tried to steal a second after hitting the ball to deep mid-wicket but a laser accurate throw at the top of the stumps by Jadeja meant that even a sprawling dive was not enough to save him.
Pakistan were in a real mess and although Sarfaraz kept them in a hunt with a 25 off 24 balls but that was never going to pose a major problem. Pakistan was bundled out for just 83 runs in 17.3 overs with Pandya taking 3 wickets. Ashwin went wicket-less in his 3 overs giving away 21 runs, the costliest of the Indian bowlers!
Going in to the break, everybody would have thought that this will be a cake walk for Team India but Mohammad Amir had different ideas. He bowled a toe crushing, in swinging yorker first up that hit Rohit flush but he survived a close leg before shout. The very next ball slanted across Rohit but curled back in at the last moment after pitching on a good length and after missing his inside edge hit him on the pads again. The umpire had no hesitation this time and Rohit departed for a duck. After Kohli got an edgy single down to third man, Rahane faced up to a fired up Amir and got another cracking in coming delivery that caught him right in front of his stumps and he too departed without troubling the scorers! India 2-2 after 1 and the match was on!!
Raina hopped around helplessly bur Amir put him out of his misery in his second over, Raina offering a tame scoop to Wahab stationed at mid-on. Kohli, at this point absorbed all the pressure and all that was thrown at him with an intense show of concentration and skill while Yuvraj struggled to lay bat to ball at the other end as he looked completely at sea against the moving ball. Virat plundered 15 off the 9th over bowled by Wahab and it was at this point that the match seemed to be in India’s grasp finally. Sami landed two more blows to India getting Kohli leg before to a fortuitous decision and Pandya caught in the slip by Hafeez for a duck but Dhoni ended it with a thumping boundary to set off wild celebrations among the Indian supporters all across the globe!!
It will be an engrossing duel in the ICC WT20 2016 at Dharamshala where the ball will certainly do a bit at the high altitude and with the picturesque snow clad mountains providing the backdrop I am eagerly awaiting Kohli Vs Amir lip smacking battle to resume!!