Insight Online News
By BD Naraayannkar
Dubai, Sept 4 : Mohammad Rizwan cracked a match-winning 71 off 51 balls to power Pakistan to a five-wicket win over India in the second Asia Cup Super 4 clash at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday.
Chasing 182 runs target on a belter of a pitch, Pakistan got off to a poor start after they lost captain Babar Azam for 14 in the fourth over off right-arm leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi who came in for the injured Ravindra Jadeja.
Fakhar Zaman too disappointed the Pakistani fans as he managed just 15 before he lost his wicket to another right-arm leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz (41) then captained the Pakistan innings away from dire straits, adding 84 runs for the third wicket. Pakistan lost both of them in quick succession to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya, forcing the match to the wire.
Arshdeep Singh put down an unpardonable sitter off Asif Ali (16 off 8) in 17.3 overs, which only emboldened Pakistan to plunder 19 runs off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar with Asif Ali clobbering one mighty six and a superb four, in the penultimate over when the equation was 26 off 12 balls.
Needing seven in the last over, Asif Ali smashed the second ball over the ropes, but got out to Arshdeep LBW on the fourth ball, bringing the equation to 2 out of 2. But Iftikhar Ahmed drove a full toss down the ground past Arshdeep to complete a thrilling victory for Pakistan.
Earlier, Virat Kohli’s 60 off 44 powered India to 181/7.
The opening pair – Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul put to sword the criticism of playing slow cricket in the last two games. They got off to a flier scoring 54 runs off the first five overs.
Rohit showed signs of aggression from ball one as he pulled Naseem Shah for maximum and then charged down to slice over cover in the same over.
In the next over, Rohit punched the ball off Mohammad Hasnain over mid-off into the ropes. He also played a crunching drive off Haris Rauf past cover.
The Indian captain did not last long as he spooned a skier towards cover-point where Kushdil Shah plucked the catch off Rauf. He made a crucial 28 off 16 balls that was decorated with three boundaries and two sixes.
Displaying his aggression too, Rahul cracked two sixes and a boundary in his 20-ball knock of 28, before he was scalped by spinner Shadab Khan.
India tried to capitalise on the good start, but lost wickets at regular intervals as Pakistani spinners – Mohammad Nawaz (1/25) and Shadab (2/31) restricted the runflow in middle overs. India lost Surya Kumar Yadav (13 off 10), Rishabh Pant (14 off 12), Hardik Pandya (0) and Deepak Hooda (16 off 14), while Virat went on with his job to get at the other end.
Virat was at his vintage best pacing his innings superbly to notch up a 36-ball fifty.
Naseem bowled an economical penultimate over and Haris Rauf threatened to do the same in the following over, but a couple of fielding errors from Fakhar Zaman ensured that India crossed 180.