Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya
Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik PandyaIANS

Asia Cup 2022: Pandya, Jadeja heroics help India defeat Pakistan by five wickets

Dubai, August 28, 2022

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja's heroics with the bat helped India defeat Pakistan by five wickets and win their first Group A match in Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

After Pakistan made 147 all out in 19.5 overs, India needed 59 off the last six overs on a two-paced pitch.

From there, Pandya (33 not out) and Jadeja (35) shared a stand of 52 runs off just 29 balls. Even though the left-handed Jadeja fell in the final over, Pandya finished off things with a six over long-on to take India over the line and add another thrilling chapter in the history of India-Pakistan clashes.

Just like Pakistan, India had an eventful first over. Debutant pacer Naseem Shah struck on just his second T20I ball, as K. L Rahul inside-edged to his stumps. Virat Kohli, playing in his 100th T20I, was dropped by Fakhar Zaman at second slip while chasing a wide one. Kohli was nervous in his start as many inside and outside edges came off his bat.

He showed signs of his authoritative self when he pulled through mid-wicket off Shahnawaz Dahani in the second over. After a top-edge went over keeper's head for a six, Kohli's authority was visible in his slash through cover and whipping over mid-wicket to collect two boundaries.

Rohit Sharma, cautious till then, opened up in the eighth over when he slog-swept Mohammad Nawaz over long-on. But the left-arm spinner had the last laugh as Rohit holed out to long-off on the final ball of the over. In his next over, Nawaz had another big scalp as Kohli chipped straight to long-off.

Jadeja started off his promotion to number four by smacking Nawaz down the ground for a 98m six. He and Suryakumar Yadav got a four each and relied mainly on strike rotation to keep the scoreboard moving.

The 36-run stand was broken by Naseem, who knocked off Suryakumar's off-stump on the first ball of his second spell. With 41 needed off the last four overs, Jadeja and Hardik Pandya hanged in to bring the equation to 32 off the last three overs. Like India, Pakistan too were penalised for a slow over rate as one extra fielder came into the 30-year circle.

By then, Pakistan were struggling as their pacers got cramps and Jadeja survived an lbw appeal off Naseem Shah clearly in pain after a review showed the ball pitching outside the leg-stump. On the very next ball, Jadeja lofted with a straight bat down the ground for six as India needed 21 runs off the last two overs.

On the third ball of the 19th over, Pandya flat-batted Haris Rauf over extra-cover and got a boundary as Babar chased the ball, but couldn't stop it from hitting the boundary rope. Pandya then swatted Rauf over wide long-on and brought out a short-arm jab on the last ball for a four splitting deep mid-wicket and long-on for perfection.

With seven needed off the final over, Nawaz struck on the first ball as Jadeja was clean bowled while going for an expansive slog. Pandya finished off the match in style by clobbering Nawaz over long-on to win an absorbing contest.

Earlier, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya played starring roles with the ball as India bowled out Pakistan for 147 in 19.5 overs.

While Pandya got India vital breakthroughs with his short balls to pick 3-25 in his four overs, Bhuvneshwar was excellent in starting and death overs to take 4-26 as India used the bounce well offered by the pitch.

With left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh taking the remaining two wickets, it marked the first instance of Indian seamers taking all ten wickets in a T20I match.

As India elected to field first, there was drama in the opening over. Mohammad Rizwan survived an early lbw call off Bhuvneshwar on the second ball via DRS. He had a reprieve again on the last ball of the over as India lost their review.

Captain Babar Azam was all grace while straight driving with the full face of the bat for a brace of boundaries through mid-off. In an attempt to pull off a Bhuvneshwar bouncer, Azam sent a top-edge to short fine leg.

Fakhar Zaman was off the mark with the very first ball, gloving a Bhuvneshwar short ball over keeper Dinesh Karthik for a boundary. He welcomed Pandya with a drive between mid-off and extra cover for another boundary.

Rizwan started to find his rhythm with two fours and whipping Avesh Khan over cow corner for an 87m six. But Avesh bounced back in the final over of power-play, banging in short and got a faint tickle off Zaman's bat through extra bounce to be caught by the keeper. Though India didn't appeal, Zaman walked off, ruling himself out.

Post power-play, Iftikhar Ahmed got a brace of boundaries. But Pandya and spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja kept things tight as there was a hint of turn on offer. In the ninth over, Jadeja bowled a short-of-a-length ball to Ahmed, which turned from outside leg to beat his bat, surprising everyone with turn and bounce.

Rizwan cut through backward point off Jadeja for four while Ahmed heaved Chahal high over long-on for six as Pakistan tried to shift gears. But India halted that charge as Pandya sharply bounced out Ahmed and the top-edge was caught safely by Karthik. In his next over, Pandya made a double strike with his short balls as Rizwan ramped straight to third man and cramped Khushdil Shah for room, forcing him to slash straight to cover.

Pakistan never recovered from three wickets lost in overs 11-15, as Asif Ali holed out on a slower off-cutter to long-off off Bhuvneshwar. Arshdeep came back to have Mohammad Nawaz nicking behind to Karthik.

Bhuvneshwar took out Shadab Khan and debutant Naseem Shah on consecutive lbws in the 19th over. But Shahnawaz Dahani smacked two huge sixes over leg-side before his stumps were disturbed by a quick Arshdeep yorker to put an end to Pakistan's innings at 147.

Brief scores: Pakistan 147 all out in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 43, Iftikhar Ahmed 28; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-26, Hardik Pandya 3-24) lost to India 148-5 in 19.4 overs (Virat Kohli 35, Ravindra Jadeja 35; Mohammad Nawaz 3-33, Naseem Shah 2-27) by five wickets

IANS

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