Asia Cup thriller
India beat their arch-rivals Pakistan by five wickets with two balls remaining in a thrilling finish to their opening fixture in the Asia Cup on Sunday night in Dubai. Pakistan batted first and posted a moderate total of 147 for all wickets. In reply, India chased the total in the last over with five wickets in hand. Hardik Pandya displayed outstanding all-round performance to win the game for India. He bagged three wickets and smashed an unbeaten 33 to finish the match. India needed 51 runs in the last 30 balls. They managed to score only 35 runs in the previous five overs— from 10 to 15 overs— with six wickets in hand. Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja kept scoring runs and kept India alive in the match very well. In the 16th, 17th and 18th overs, India scored 9, 10 and 11 respectively. In the last two overs, they needed 21 runs. Pandya smashed Haris Rauf for three fours in the 19th over, and India needed only seven off the last over. Mohammad Nawaz, the most successful bowler of Pakistan in the match, removed Jadeja from the first ball of the last over. Jadeja made 35 off 29 balls. But it was Pandya who finished the game in style hitting Nawaz for a six over the long-on when India required only six off the last two balls. Read: Asia Cup 2022: How Bangladesh can defeat a confident Afghanistan team Eventually, India won the match by five wickets. Pandya remained unbeaten for 33 off 17 balls. He hit four fours and one six. India’s best scorer was Virat Kohli with 35 off 34 balls. Once again, it was not an ideal Virat-like innings. The right-handed batter has been suffering from poor from for a while now, and it was just another poor innings from the master. Pakistan made a good start when Naseem Shah removed Lokesh Rahul for a duck. But Pakistan failed to continue putting pressure on the Indian batting line. For them, Nawaz bagged three wickets for 33 runs and Naseem took two. Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bowl first. Pakistan made an eventful start by getting two reviews to them in the first over of the match. Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, played a couple of glorious shots before getting dismissed by Bhuvneshwar. Fakhar Zaman made a good start but failed to continue on it. He walked off the field after making a nick when no Indian appealed for it. Mohammad Rizwan made was firm at the other end of the wicket. He made 43 off 42 balls. He was about to accelerate the innings, but at that moment, he was sent back by Pandya. Iftikhar Ahmed made 28 off 22 balls. However, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan and Asif Ali failed to deliver in the high-octane match. The last batter Shahnawaz Dahani made 16 off just 6 balls with two sixes. For India, Bhuvneshwar was the best bowler taking four wickets for 26 in four overs while Pandya scalped three four 25 in four overs as well. Before this match, India and Pakistan faced each others in nine T20Is with India winning six and Pakistan two— one match was tied.