The Asia Cup match between Pakistan and India on Saturday didn’t really live up to the hype of the occasion, as India won by five wickets in chasing down just 83, after Pakistan’s batsmen failed.
India survived a scare of their own, thanks to Mohammad Amir’s three wickets inside the first three overs of the chase, but the total was well below par and reached inside 16 overs.
The win puts India at the top of the Asia Cup table with four points, from two wins in two, while Pakistan have no points as this was their first match of the tournament. Not a single six was hit in the entire game.
India won the toss and opted to bat, putting faith in their batting line up to chase anything down, and that proved to be a terrific decision from the first over.
With only two batsmen reaching double figures, it was all to easy for India’s bowlers, as well as their fielders who affected two run outs.
Opener Mohammad Hafeez was caught behind by a fit-again MS Dhoni in the first over, off Ashish Nehra, and Sharjeel Khan followed soon afterwards to Jasprit Bumrah.
It was a procession of wickets from the get-go, and Pakistan were soon seven down for just 52 runs. Even Yuvraj Singh got in on the action, trapping Umar Akmal in front for three.
Sarfraz was the only batsman to score more than 10 runs, but even he was only able to last 24 balls before being bowled by Ravi Jadeja, who also got rid of Wahab Riaz.
Hardik Pandya accounted for the final two wickets with more than two overs to go, removing Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Sami with successive deliveries.
India’s chase got off to a shocking start as well, and they were soon three wickets down for just eight runs.
The first over saw Amir trap both Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane LBW, both for ducks, to make his comeback trail even more prolific. In his next over he added Suresh Raina to his records, caught by Wahab.
Unlike Pakistan though, India managed to cauterise the wound, thanks to Virat Kohli and Yuvraj, who had enough time to recover and a small enough target to focus on.
Yuvraj batted at a ponderous pace, but give the demands of the game, and Kohli at the other end, this worked out fine for India as they steadily made their way to the win.
Kohli made 49 before being removed with eight runs to go, trapped LBW by Sami. This left Yuvraj, who had faced 29 balls for his 13 runs by that stage, to finish things up, especially after Pandya was out for a duck in the same over.
Yuvraj ended on 14 off 32 balls, hardly a ringing endorsement after his skipper claimed he just needed time in the middle to find his form. Still, at least he stuck around when the side needed him.