India’s iconic Eden Garden’s was bursting with a wave of blue as India faced Pakistan in a Group 2 encounter. Famously called as ‘The mother of all battles’, the match saw many highs and lows at various junctures. From weather playing the hide, n seek to ball turning miles after hitting the pitch. The contest was restricted to 18 overs per side, as rain delayed the start of the match by one hour. India maintained a clear sheet against Pakistan, as they extended their streak to 11-NIL in the ICC tournaments against neighbours, Pakistan.
In this article, we have listed down a few hits and misses from the match which proved critical in the outcome of the result.
Cautious start by Pakistani openers
Ahmed Shehzad and Sharjeel Khan opened the innings for Pakistan and quite unlike against Bangladesh, they made a cautious beginning at the start and gave the visitors a decent start. Both openers looked to see through the initial overs and played sensible cricket on a vicious turning track of Eden’s. Shehzad played a reckless slog on the leg side off Bumrah’s bowling and got out at a score of 25, whereas Sharjeel scored 17.
Tight spell from Ashwin and Jadeja
India’s premium bowler, Ravichandran Ashwin repaid skipper’s faith in him by bowling a good spell of 3 overs, he didn’t get a wicket but gave only 12 runs. Bowling in the power play overs is a challenge for any spinner but Ashwin constantly does that job with perfection. His fellow mate, Ravindra Jadeja too bowled beautifully on the turning track of Eden’s and gave away twenty runs in the quota of 4 overs. Jadeja got the wicket of dangerous looking Umar Akmal who scored 22 (16 balls) in the 16th over of the Pakistani innings.
Fine cameo by Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal
On a tough pitch like this, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal knitted a crucial partnership of 41 to give some depth to the Pakistani total. They played some really good cricketing shots throughout. In the last five overs, Pakistan scored 51 runs that took their total to 118/5 in 18 overs. Especially, they clobbered Pandya in the 14th over of the innings for 15 runs that include two massive hits in the stands followed the suit with 13 runs in Bumrah’s next over. Umar Akmal scored 22 off 16 deliveries while Shoaib Malik got out at a score of 26 off just 16 balls.
Kohli’s consistency and Yuvraj’s experience proved too hot to handle for Pakistan
India was reeling at 23/3 when Yuvraj Singh stepped on to the crease to face the hat-trick ball from Mohammad Sami, who removed Dhawan and Raina on two consecutive deliveries. Once again, the duo of Kohli and Yuvraj scripted a memorable run chase for India and helped the home team to cross the line. Virat played the lead role and scored a cracking half-century on a difficult wicket, he scored 55* off 37 balls. Yuvraj too played his part with precision, he supported Kohli and was out on a score of 24. They both build a vital partnership of 61 runs that bailed out India from the initial trouble and secure win easily at the end.
Afridi wasn’t able to capitalize on a good start
In a high-pressure game like India-Pakistan, Shahid Afridi promoted himself up the order at No.3 ahead of the in-form Mohammad Hafeez. Hafeez scored a brilliant half-century in the last match against Bangladesh and was the ideal candidate for the slot. The move clearly didn’t work for the Pakistani team, as Afridi didn’t looked comfortable in the middle and scored a measly 8 off 14 balls.
Shikhar and Rohit disappoint again
A lot was expected from India’s openers in this crucial encounter, but failing once again to the expectations both were removed cheaply at the early part of Indian innings. The Pakistani pace battery was once again on the mark, as Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Sami sent both of them packing back to the pavilion. Dhawan’s inclusion in the line-up is still a big question mark in the team, as not for a moment he looked comfortable on the pitch. A point to ponder over before the match against Bangladesh!