India outclass Pakistan in one-sided Asia Cup affair

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India have easily secured an easy win against Pakistan in a Group A match of the Asia Cup 2018 played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The Indian team was off to a steady start in the second inning with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were slowly rotating the strike and keeping things moving in the early overs in their effort to chase Pakistan’s meagre 163-run target.

The action really started in 8th over when Usman Khan conceded 19 runs, including two sixes and a four. India was at 46 runs at the end of this over.

India stood at 58 at the loss of no wickets after Ashraf bowled the 10th over. Sharma scored a huge six on the second ball of the 12th over, sending India’s total to a booming 82-0. Two balls later, he scored his first 50 of the match, bringing the total to 85-0.

Sharma’s stroke of luck didn’t last as he was caught out on the first ball of the 13th over, when India stood at 86-1. This was the first wicket to fall for India and was taken by Shadab Khan as he bowled his first delivery of the match

Hundred came up for India in the 16th over as Fakhar Zaman replaced Shahdab Khan mid-over as the latter seemed to have hurt his back while following through on the third ball of the over.

India’s second wicket fell at 104 in the 17th over when Dhawan played a reckless cut shot off Faheem Ashraf’s ball straight to Babar Azam at backward point.

The match, a one-sided affair at this point, went on swiftly as India cruised though the last leg of the run chase after the Green Shirts seemed to have conceded defeat in their heads already. The match ended in the 29th over when Ambati Rayudu smashed Shoaib Malik’s final ball for a four.

Pakistan innings
Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq opened the batting for Pakistan, whereas Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar shared the new ball for India.

The Indian pacers stuck to a tight line and length in the opening two overs, which put the pressure on young Imam. He tried to accelerate the scoring by charging down the pitch and paid the price, nicking one behind to MS Dhoni.

Babar Azam walked in to partner Zaman, but their partnership barely lasted a couple of minutes, as the latter top-edged a Kumar delivery in the 5th over and was caught by Chahal.

Shoaib Malik, who replaced Imam, struck the innings’ first boundary in the 6th over before Azam struck two boundaries of his own in the 7th to take the score to 20-2.

After that spree of boundaries runs dried up again as Kumar and Bumrah’s accurate bowling allowed few opportunities to the batters to free their arms.

The first bowling change was introduced in the 10th over as Bumrah was replaced by Pandya. By the end of that over, Pakistan were 25-2.

Azam struck a boundary each in the 11th and 12th overs, boosting the score to 39-2.

Malik danced down the track in the 13th over to hammer the innings’ first six off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav.

MS Dhoni did a massive favour to Malik in the 16th over, dropping what should have been a fairly comfortable catch for the veteran wicketkeeper. At the end of that over, Pakistan were 60-2 and had recovered from the early setbacks.

However, the run rate was under four an over, which gave India the edge. That edge lessened a little in the 18th over when all-rounder Pandya suddenly went down due to a mysterious illness and had to be stretchered off the field.

A couple more quiet overs followed as Pakistan were 80-2 at the end of 20 overs.

Azam and Malik’s 82-run stand came to an end when the latter had his stumps disturbed by Yadav when he was just three shy of his half-century. In the 24th over, Yadav could have sent Malik packing as well, only to see Kumar drop the catch.

Pakistan were dealt another blow in the 25th over when they lost their captain Sarfraz when he tried to clear the long-on fence, only to see Manish Pandey take a blinder of a catch.

But the biggest setback of them all came in the 27th over when a direct hit from Ambati Rayudu saw Malik take the slow walk back to the pavilion. At this stage, Pakistan were 100-5 and clearly second-best in the contest.

Hard-hitting Asif Ali smashed a maximum in the next over but then edged one to Dhoni at the start of the 29th over to leave Pakistan reeling at 110-6.

The young Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were given the uphill task to rescue the team out of the pickle that the top-order had created.

The two youngsters survived the next overs but survive is all they did. On the final ball of the 33rd over, Shadab too was dispatched by Jadhav. The score at this point stood at 121-7, with India well and truly on top.

The question at this point was not how many Pakistan will score but how many overs they will survive. The pairing of Ashraf and Muhammad Amir, however, showed some resilience, and brought up the team’s 150 in the 39th over.

Their 37-run stand came to an end in the 42nd over, following which it didn’t take long for India to run through the rest of Pakistan’s tail. Their final wicket fell in the 44th over, by which time they had managed just 162 runs.

Earlier, Sarfraz won the toss, opted to bat first and named the same side that had sauntered to victory against Hong Kong in their opening match of the tournament.

India brought back Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah after resting them in yesterday’s match against Hong Kong. The duo took Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed’s place in the side.

The match began after both the teams’ national anthems are played — a practise common in football but now being replicated in cricket as well.

Line-ups
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan Shinwari

India: RG Sharma (c), S Dhawan, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal, MS Dhoni †, KM Jadhav, KD Karthik †, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, HH Pandya, AT Rayudu