Intense action lasting 112 minutes was followed by an almost four-hour-long agonising wait as rain ended up emerging as the winner in the high-octane Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan for the second weekend in succession.
However, unlike in Pallekele last Saturday, the teams will resume the Super 4 clash on Monday, with India placed at 147 for two in 24.1 overs. Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul - who was drafted in only because Shreyas Iyer hurt his back minutes before the toss - will resume India’s essay at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Monday afternoon.
AS IT HAPPENED: IND vs PAK Highlights
With a reserve day having been added at the eleventh hour only for the marquee clash, it will be interesting to see if a maximum of 76 overs’ play is possible on Monday. Had the game resumed on Sunday night after the heavy downpour, it would have been a shortened game.
But just as the umpires were walking out for a final inspection, the skies opened up again at 8.30 p.m., and the game was suspended at 8.45 p.m.
Earlier in the afternoon, however, under a scorching sun, India captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill reigned supreme against Pakistan’s pace battery in an entertaining duel.
Rohit’s flick off the last ball of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s opening over sailed over square-leg for a six. Gill took the cue in Afridi’s next over, showing his class with punches. He struck three boundaries in the fifth over as well, including an aerial drive over mid-on after charging down the wicket.
While Afridi was hammered for 31 runs in his three overs, Naseem Shah bowled an exceptional spell from the other end. Neither Rohit, who went into a defensive mode, nor Gill could find an answer to counter Naseem. Had Iftikhar Ahmed and Agha Salman not been ball-watching at first and second slip, respectively, in the eighth over, Gill’s edge could have been caught and Naseem deservingly rewarded.
Gill continued to score freely from the other end. As if he was waiting for spin, Rohit exploded once Shadab Khan’s leg-spin was introduced. The 10 balls Rohit faced against Shadab fetched him a whopping 28 runs.
It resulted in both Rohit and Gill having notched up their fifties, with India in control. However, moments after the drinks break, Rohit miscued an inside-out drive and Faheem Ashraf took an excellent catch running in to his left from long-off.
In the next over, Gill was deceived by Afridi’s leg cutter, and Salman did not falter at covers. It meant Kohli and Rahul had to be cautious for a while. Just when Rahul appeared to get his touch back, the skies opened up. And even before the groundstaff could cover the outfield, three wet patches in the outfield had developed due to the heavy downpour that prevented any further play.
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