Kumar, Jadhav guide India to 8-wicket win against Pakistan in Asia Cup
DUBAI (Web Desk) – India strolled to an authoritative eight-wicket victory against Pakistan in the marquee Asia Cup group clash in an atmospheric Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.
India’s bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Kedar Jadhav, in particular – were simply too hot for Pakistan’s batsmen to handle, despite a middle-order rebuild from Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik after Kumar had blasted out Pakistan’s openers.
A half-century from skipper Rohit Sharma helped India make light work of Pakistan’s 162, with India’s top four all having joy in their pursuit. However, India will be sweating on the fitness of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was forced to leave the field with a nasty injury.
Both teams had won their opening games against Hong Kong, which meant that the two Asia Cup heavyweights had already secured a Super Four spot – but try telling these players and fans that there was nothing riding on this showpiece encounter.
If the Hong Kong matches were anything to go by, Pakistan may have had the edge leading into the game; they strolled to an eight-wicket win in their first match after bowling the opposition out for 116, while India were made to battle hard before pulling off a 26-run victory – plus they had to dust themselves off for their second match in two days.
After winning the toss, Pakistan’s innings started poorly, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar removing both Imam ul-Haq (2) and Fakhar Zaman (0) cheaply, with the latter top-edging an expansive pull-shot after the previous maiden over from Jasprit Bumrah had applied the breaks.
But the experienced middle-order of Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik propelled Pakistan out of a sticky situation, but a combination of the fear of losing more top-order wickets and tight India bowling meant Pakistan only managed 25 from the first ten overs. Fortunately, after 13 overs they had doubled their score, with Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal unable to match the opening bowlers for economy.
India were no longer getting the rub of the green: The Pakistan duo racked up their fifty partnership, Dhoni spurned a difficult caught behind off Malik, and Pandya was stretchered off the field with what the BCCI later confirmed was an “acute lower back injury”.
Azam (47 from 62) was then beaten all ends up by a Kuldeep Yadav wrong’un that took out off-stump to make it 85/3 before Sarfraz Ahmed was caught in the deep off the bowling of Kedar Jadhav.
Shortly after Pakistan reached three figures, Malik (43 from 67) departed courtesy of a direct hit run out by Ambati Rayudu. Asif Ali and Shadab Khan were then removed cheaply – stumped and caught behind off the bowling of the impressive Jadhav (3/23) as Pakistan slumped to 125/7.
Faheem Ashraf (21 from 44) and Mohammad Amir (18 from 26) offered a mini-revival but were unable to release the shackles. The superb Bumrah (2/15) and Kumar (3/15) returned to finish off the job as Pakistan were bowled out for a below-par 162.
A leisurely start from Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma went up a notch in the eighth over when the latter smashed a six over fine-leg before a leg-side flick for four and another maximum through straight mid-wicket off a free ball. The fifty partnership was reached during the next over as India looked in total command.
Hasan Ali was greeted into the attack with a six from Dhawan but Rohit fell to a Shadab Khan googly shortly after reaching his 50. It was a beautiful delivery, but with Rohit’s flurry contributing by far the best strike-rate of the match at 133.33, the damage had largely been done.
Pakistan chopped and changed. Ashraf removed Dhawan soon after India surpassed the hundred-mark with the opener four runs short of his half-century, when a flashy cut was grabbed at backward point. It proved to be Pakistan’s last scalp, with their bowlers failing to provide enough tricks to cause India to sweat during a low run-chase.
Ambati Rayudu (31*) and Dinesh Karthik (31*) comfortably got India over the finish line with 21 overs to spare to bring home an impressive India victory, which will increase their confidence levels as they look to go all the way in this tournament.
Captain Sarfraz Ahmed said: “We did not have a good start. We lost two wickets in the first five overs. Then regular wickets then meant we couldn’t come back into the game. You can say we batted poorly.”
He said that the wickets were soft dismissals, except Babar’s. “So we need to see how we play in the future. We did prepare for the two main spinners, but got out to the third one (Jadhav).”
India captain Rohit Sharma said that right from the start they were quite disciplined. “We wanted to learn from yesterday’s mistakes. It was a great game for the bowling unit, especially since we knew it won’t be difficult in these conditions.
“We stuck to the plan and did what we had planned to do on this surface. Spinners kept it tight, got the odd breakthrough, but the wickets in the first couple of overs was very important. It was important to get early wickets because they’ve got some quality in the batting. So we didn’t want to make things easy for them. We kept things on the stumps and we spoke about not giving Pakistan room.”
Pakistan 1st innings Imam ul-Haq c MS Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 Fakhar Zaman c Yuzvendra Chahal b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 0 Babar Azam b Kuldeep Yadav 47 Shoaib Malik Run Out Ambati Rayudu 43 Sarfraz Ahmed c (Sub) b Kedar Jadhav 6 Asif Ali c MS Dhoni b Kedar Jadhav 9 Shadab Khan st MS Dhoni b Kedar Jadhav 8 Faheem Ashraf c Shikhar Dhawan b Jasprit Bumrah 21 Mohammad Amir Not Out 18 Hasan Ali c Dinesh Karthik b Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 Usman Shinwari b Jasprit Bumrah 0 Extras 0b 6lb 1nb 0pen 0w 7 Total (43.1 overs) 162 all out Fall of Wickets : 1-2 ul-Haq, 2-3 Zaman, 3-85 Azam, 4-96 Ahmed, 5-100 Malik, 6-110 Ali, 7-121 Khan, 8-158 Ashraf, 9-160 Ali, 10-162 Shinwari Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex Bhuvneshwar Kumar 7 1 15 3 2.14 Jasprit Bumrah 7.1 2 23 2 3.21 Hardik Pandya 4.5 0 24 0 4.97 Yuzvendra Chahal 7 0 34 0 4.86 1nb Kuldeep Yadav 8 0 37 1 4.62 Ambati Rayudu 0.1 0 0 0 0.00 Kedar Jadhav 9 1 23 3 2.56 ................................................... India 1st innings Rohit Sharma b Shadab Khan 52 Shikhar Dhawan c Babar Azam b Faheem Ashraf 46 Ambati Rayudu Not Out 31 Dinesh Karthik Not Out 31 Extras 0b 0lb 2nb 0pen 2w 4 Total (29.0 overs) 164-2 Fall of Wickets : 1-86 Sharma, 2-104 Dhawan Did Not Bat : Dhoni, Jadhav, Pandya, Kumar, Yadav, Chahal, Bumrah Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex Mohammad Amir 6 1 23 0 3.83 Usman Shinwari 4 0 27 0 6.75 1nb Hasan Ali 4 0 33 0 8.25 Faheem Ashraf 5 0 31 1 6.20 2w 1nb Shadab Khan 1.3 0 6 1 4.00 Fakhar Zaman 6.3 0 25 0 3.85 Shoaib Malik 2 0 19 0 9.50 .................................... Umpire Marais Erasmus Umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge Video Gregory Brathwaite Match Referee David Boon