It was another last-over thriller between
India and Pakistan in Dubai at the Asia Cup as Babar Azam’s side narrowly beat
the Men in Blue by five wickets in their Super 4 encounter on Sunday. Virat
Kohli’s half-century lifted India to a respectable first innings total of 181
for seven, but Pakistan managed to chase down the target with one ball to
spare. Mohammad Rizwan led the charge with his 71 off 51 before cameos from Mohammad
Nawaz (42 off 20) and Asif Ali (16 off 8) took them home by the barest of
One week after losing to India while
batting first, Babar Azam put India in to bat after winning the toss. Rohit
Sharma gave the Men in Blue a fast start alongside KL Rahul, with 62 runs
coming in the first six overs for the loss of just one wicket. The Indian
skipper showed the first signs of aggression with an elegant four and six off
Naseem Shah in the opening over before KL Rahul lofted the young pacer for a
couple of sixes in the third over.
The pair brought up India’s half-century in
just 4.2 overs before Pakistan finally found some respite with the wicket of
Rohit Sharma in the sixth, the opener skying a Haris Rauf slower ball. His
partner, KL Rahul, also fell on the first ball after the powerplay to Shadab
Khan and the spinners dragged Pakistan back into the contest with a couple of
quick wickets. Mohammed Nawaz removed Suryakumar Yadav on 13, while Shadab Khan
had Rishabh Pant reverse sweeping one straight into the hands of Asif Ali.
India also lost Hardik Pandya for a duck to
slump to 135 for five in 15 overs, and despite a second consecutive
half-century from Virat Kohli, Pakistan closed out the innings superbly with
just 46 runs coming off the final 30 deliveries.
Chasing 182, Pakistan lost Babar Azam
inside the powerplay with the skipper tamely chipping a Ravi Bishnoi googly to
Rohit Sharma at short mid-wicket. Pakistan lost further momentum with Fakhar
Zaman playing a scratchy innings of 15 from 18, but Mohammad Rizwan anchored
the innings perfectly while the promoted Mohammad Nawaz changed the game with
his blistering cameo.
The left-hander tore into Hardik Pandya and
Yuzvendra Chahal in his 20-ball 42 as Pakistan dominated the middle period,
adding 78 runs between overs 9 to 15. Nawaz and Rizwan fell in consecutive
overs after their 73-run association, but Arshdeep Singh dropped Asif Ali in
the 18th over off Ravi Bishnoi to give Pakistan a lifeline. Ali made the most
of his reprieve as he hit a six and two fours in the final two overs to take
Babar Azam’s over the line with one ball remaining.