India have bagged the bragging rights over arch-rivals Pakistan, for a few days time, after convincingly beating them by 8 wickets at The Dubai International Stadium. Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first. Indian side made two changes to the team line up that faced Hong Konga a day ago. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah replaced Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed respectively. Pakistan named an unchanged playing XI.
The start was not pleasant for Pakistan. They lost both their openers, Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq, to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first five overs with just 3 runs on the scoreboard. Babar Azam and experienced campaigner Shoaib Malik were left with a hard task of stabilizing the innings.
However, the duo started their partnership in pretty impressive fashion. Azam was the aggressor who tried to counter the Indian bowling with flamboyancy. They had put on 82 runs together before a beauty from Kuldeep Yadav left Azam in awe and clean bowled him. Kedar Jadhav and his peculiar bowling action started working for India again. A stunning catch, of Sarfraz Ahmed, on the boundary line by substitute fielder Manish Pandey gave Jadhav first of his three wickets.
Catastrophe struck Pakistan when Shoaib Malik was run-out in a ridiculous manner. Pakistan were reduced to 100-5 in 27 overs at that time. Asif Ali showed little resistant and became the second victim of Jadhav. He edged the ball to MS Dhoni who completed a fairly simple catch. A brilliant stumping from MS sent Shadab Khan back to the pavilion and gifted Jadhav his third and final wicket. A 37 run partnership from Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Amir helped Pakistan to reach the 150-mark. But once Bumrah removed Ashraf, the Pakistani innings succumbed. Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah picked up Hasan Ali and Usman Khan respectively to close Pakistan’s innings for 164 runs.
The target was not really a challenging one but the Indian team knew that they had to plan the chase perfectly against the dominant Pakistani bowlers. And this is what the batsmen exactly did. After a slow start in the first seven overs, Rohit Sharma went blitzkrieg and smashed Usman Khan 19 runs in the eight over which included two monstrous sixes. That over set the tone for the Indian batsmen. Dhawan too joined the party, scoring runs at ease. Rohit completed his half-century before he was dismissed by Shadab Khan. A brilliant googly was enough to deceive Rohit whose bat was found nowhere near the ball before it crashed the stumps. Dhawan wanted to finish the match early but it was not meant to be. He was picked up by Fahim Ashraf. Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu had a relatively easy task to get to the total. Both of them finished with a score of 31 as India chased down the score easily in the 29th over.
But this is not the last time these two teams will lock their horns in this tournament. Having qualified for the super over, they will face each other at least one more time on 23rd September. However, if both of them manage to qualify for the finals, all the cricket fans can expect a lot more of fireworks on 28th of this month. India’s win, although, happened at a despairing cost. All-rounder Hardik Pandya suffered from a lower heap injury while bowling and is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the tournament.
Pakistan: 162-10(43.1 o.)
Babar Azam: 47(62)
Shoaib Malik: 43(67)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: 7-1-15-3.
India: 164-2(29 o.)
Rohit Sharma(C): 52(39)
Shikhar Dhawan: 46(54)
Shadab Khan: 1.3-0-6-1.