Pakistan overcame a few tense moments to record a five-wicket win over India in their Asia Cup Super 4 contest at Dubai International Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
Chasing 182, Pakistan reached home with one ball to spare. A 73-run third-wicket stand between Mohammad Rizwan (71, 51b, 6x4, 2x6) and Mohammad Nawaz (42, 20b, 6x4, 2x6) put Pakistan on the right track. Southpaw Nawaz, promoted up the order to tackle legspinners Ravi Bishnoi and Yuzvendra Chahal, smacked it around.
Pakistan was in cruise control when the duo was in action. It took a clever slower ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to remove Nawaz. In the next over, India was back in the contest after Rizwan holed out to long-off.
The 18th over, bowled by Bishnoi, proved to be dramatic. A wide call from the umpire was reviewed by India, and replays showed the faintest of touches. The third umpire stuck to the wide call, allowing Asif Ali to bat on. The very next ball, Asif lobbed the simplest catch to short third-man fielder Arshdeep Singh, who inexplicably spilled it.
The drop proved to be costly, as Asif hit a six and a four in the next over to effectively the seal the contest. Arshdeep returned to bowl the last over, with Pakistan needing seven to win. He managed to trap Asif leg-before, but it was too little too late.
Virat Kohli, who was seen clutching his hamstring, left the field after the Powerplay.
After being put in to bat, India reached a good score. Openers KL Rahul (28, 20b, 1x4, 2x6) and Rohit Sharma (28, 16b, 3x4, 2x6) gave India a quick start, putting on 54 runs in 5.1 overs.
Kohli (60, 44b, 4x4, 1x6) brought up his second successive fifty. Rahul struggled with his strike rate in the previous outing, but this time around, he took a more aggressive approach. In the third over, Rahul lofted pacer Naseem Shah over cover for a six. A few deliveries later, Rahul played a remarkable helicopter shot, sending the ball straight and onto the sidescreen. Rahul perished to Shadab Khan, mis-hitting a googly to long-on.
A front-pull off fast bowler Haris Rauf over cow corner was the highlight of Rohit’s stint. Rohit then skied a slower ball from Rauf, between cover and point. Fakhar Zaman, at point, nearly made a mess of the chance by colliding with Khushdil Shah, but the latter kept his cool to latch on. It was a forgettable night in the field for Zaman, who conceded two fours - including a catch - in the last two deliveries of the Indian innings.
Kohli kept the score ticking by placing his shots in the gaps and running hard. He reached his fifty in style, whipping an overpitched ball from Mohammad Hasnain into the mid-wicket stands.
Suryakumar Yadav, the star of the Hong Kong outing, started with a cut shot which raced to the fence. A top edge, however, ended Suryakumar’s innings short on 13. Rishabh Pant (14, 12b, 2x4) did not make much impact with the bat.