Dubai: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya played starring roles on the ball as India eliminated Pakistan 147 in 19.5 overs in their opening match of the 2022 Asia Cup at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
While Pandya made India’s vital breakthroughs with her short balls to go 3-25 in all four of her overs, Bhuvneshwar was excellent in the opening and deadly overs to take 4-26 as India made good use of the bounce the shot offered. With left arm pacer Arshdeep Singh taking the two wicket break, he too marked the first instance of Indian closers taking all ten wickets in a T20I match.
Choosing to bowl first, there was drama in the opening. Mohammad Rizwan survived an early lbw call from Bhuvneshwar on the second ball via DRS. He got a breather again on the last ball of the over when India lost their review.
Captain Babar Azam oozed splendor as he drove straight with the full face of the bat for a couple of midway bounds. In an attempt to get a rebound from Bhuvneshwar, Azam sent a top edge to the short, thin leg.
Fakhar Zaman was off the mark with the first ball, passing a short ball from Bhuvneshwar over goalkeeper Dinesh Karthik for a bound. He welcomed Pandya with a breakthrough between the middle and additional coverage for another limit.
Rizwan began to find his rhythm with two fours and whipping Avesh Khan over the corner of the cow for an 87m six. But Avesh rallied at the end of the power play, hitting short and taking a slight tingle from Zaman’s bat via an extra rebound to be caught by the keeper. Although India did not appeal, Zaman withdrew and was ruled out.
After the power play, Iftikhar Ahmed got a couple of limits. But Pandya and the spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja, kept things steady as there were signs that shifts were being offered. In the ninth, Jadeja lobbed a short one-pitch ball to Ahmed, who spun from the outside leg to hit his bat, surprising everyone with spin and rebound.
Rizwan cut Jadeja’s point back for four, while Ahmed lobbed Chahal high over long for six as Pakistan tried to switch gears. But India stopped that charge when Pandya rebounded sharply towards Ahmed and Karthik safely caught the top edge. In his next over, Pandya hit a double with his short balls as Rizwan jumped straight into the third man and squeezed Khushdil Shah’s space, forcing him to cut straight for cover.
Pakistan never recovered from three wickets lost in overs 11-15 as Asif Ali holed out a slower cutter to get away from Bhuvneshwar. Arshdeep came back to have Mohammad Nawaz behind Karthik.
Bhuvneshwar took out Shadab Khan and debutant Naseem Shah in back-to-back lbws in the 19th. But Shahnawaz Dahani hit two huge sixes over the side of the leg before his stumps were tapped by a quick Arshdeep yorker to end Pakistan’s innings. in 147.
Short scores: Pakistan 147 in total in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 43, Iftikhar Ahmed 28; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-26, Hardik Pandya 3-24) vs. India.