Dubai : Hardik Pandya’s six in the last over helped India take a sweet T20 World Cup revenge by beating Pakistan by five wickets in a humdinger of a second match of 2022 Asia Cup in Dubai on Sunday.
Amidst some drama in the final over, India lost Ravindra Jadeja (35 off 29) in the very first ball and the next ball the incumbent Dinesh Karthik scrambled for a single, taking the equation to 6 off 5, but Hardik smashed the third ball straight to extra cover for no run.
Keeping his calm, Hardik (33 no of 17, 4x4s 1×6) powered a pull shot to seal a nervy thriller for India off the fourth ball. Earlier, he was also too good for Pakistani batsmen with the ball as he picked up four wickets.
Babar Azam’s side however deserves kudos, for 147 was certainly a below-par total, considering the two-paced deck. His fast bowlers put India under the pump by taking regular wickets and keep the runrate under check with intelligent bowling, ensuring India sweat it out to cross over the line.
When Surya Kumar Surya (18 off 18) was scalped by Naseem Shah, India needed 59 off 34 balls, an equation difficult enough with the existing condition. But the Indian allrounders – Jadeja and Hardik – played sensibly to get into their groove at the first go.
Jadeja, however, put the ball to the sword in a calculative fashion before Hardik impressed with his brand of cricket at the end with plenty of delightful strokes.
India began 148 runs chase disastrously as they lost KL Rahul in the very second ball off Naseem when the opener was cleaned bowled for zero.
Captain Rohit Sharma (12 off 16) and Virat Kohli (35 off 34, 3x4s 1×6) stitched 49 runs for the second wicket, before the former left the scene by giving a catch to Iftikhar Ahmed off spinner Mohammad Nawaz, redicung India to 53 for 3 in 9.1 overs.
For Pakistan Naseem bagged 2 wickets for 27 and Nawaz 3 wickets for 33.
Earlier, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Hardik, shared seven wickets between them, helping India to restrict Pakistan to a paltry 147, after opting to bowl first.
Kumar finished with an impressive figures of 4 for 24 and Pandya with 3 for 25. Young fast bowler Arshdeep Singh also was impressive, bagging 2 wickets for 33. Avesh Khan chipped in with a wicket.
The high-octane clash got off to a dramatic start with two of the reviews going in favour of Pakistan in the very first over.
Azam got off the chips with glorious drives, but fell to Kumar’s nappy bouncing delivery after making 10 of his blades.
Fakhar Zaman walked off after he nicked one to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps off Avesh, which the spectators also could not believe that he had done as no Indian fielder jumped in air joy, except the Indian keeper.
Iftikhar (28 off 22 balls) and Rizwan (43 off 42) stood the ground and built a 45 runs for third wicket, but the former lost his wicket to Pandya’s bumper after the ball sailed into the gloves of Karthik once again.
Continuing with his bumpers, Pandya picked two more wickets. There off, Pakistan kept losing wickets and if not for those late boundaries from Haris Rauf (13 no) and Shahnawaz Dahani (16 off 6 2x6s), they would have finished with a much lesser score.
Brief scores: Pakistan 147 all out in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 43; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-26, Hardik Pandya 3-25) lost to India 148/5 in 19.4 overs (Virat Kohli 35, Ravindra Jadeja 35, Hardik Pandya 33*; Mohammad Nawaz 3-33, Naseem Shah 2-27) by 5 wickets.