Five of the 10 wickets to fall in the Pakistan innings came off short balls. The lack of movement off the pitch and in the air meant the Indian fast bowlers generally bowled short or short-of-a-good-length at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya championed the ploy by picking all three wickets with short deliveries. Bowling the 15th over, Hardik first removed Mohammad Rizwan, who tried to ramp a short ball, but ended up hitting it straight to deep third man. In the same over, Khushdil Shah attempted the upper-cut, only to be caught at deep point. Earlier, Hardik had Iftikhar Ahmed caught behind with a well-directed bouncer. He finished with figures of three for 25.
Hardik briefly brought back memories of the third ODI against England at Old Trafford last month, when his perseverance with the short ball saw him skittle England with figures of four for 24 and handed India the series 2-1 with a five-wicket win.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the highest wicket-taker of India tonight, also got three out of his four wickets with short and short-of-good-length balls. Even one of Arshdeep Singh's two wickets came off a short-of-good-length ball.
Bhuvneshwar explained the bowling plan in an interaction with Star Sports during the innings break. "When we looked at the wicket, we thought it would swing but there was no swing. There was bounce, but we know what balls we have to bowl. When you bowl short, few were skidding and some were coming slow," he said.
This was the first time India took all 10 wickets with pace in a T20I innings.
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