Asia Cup 2022: Rizwan, Nawaz, Ali play crucial knocks as Pakistan win a thriller by five wickets

Asia Cup 2022: Rizwan, Nawaz, Ali play crucial knocks as Pakistan win a thriller by five wickets

Dubai, September 4, 2022

For the second time in a week, an India-Pakistan match went down to the wire. For the second time in Asia Cup 2022, the result of an India-Pakistan match came in the final over.

But this time, critical knocks from Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz, with Asif Ali chipping in, helped Pakistan finish on the winning side, beating India by five wickets in the second Super Four stage match at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

After Virat Kohli slammed his second consecutive fifty in as many matches for India to post a competitive 181/7, Rizwan also got his half-century in as many games with a 51-ball 71. But the game turner was left-handed Nawaz's promotion to four, striking 42 off 20 balls, including six fours and two sixes.

With 26 runs needed from the last two overs, Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali took 19 runs off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 19th over. Arshdeep Singh, who dropped Ali for a duck an over earlier, got the equation to two runs off two balls. But Iftikhar Ahmed sealed the match in Pakistan's favour with a ball to spare.

Babar Azam and Rizwan began by striking three fours in the first three overs. Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, playing his first game in Asia Cup, struck in his first over as Azam chipped straight to mid-wicket.

Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman didn't let the tempo down by taking three fours off Hardik Pandya's first over going for 14 runs. Rizwan then whipped Arshdeep superbly off his wrists over backward square leg as Pakistan ended the power-play at 44/1.

Post power-play, India kept things tight by not allowing Zaman to get boundaries with a change in pace and length. They were rewarded when an under-pressure Zaman holed out straight to long-on off a slower ball from Yuzvendra Chahal.

Nawaz, promoted to four, began by cutting Chahal past short third man for four. He then clobbered Pandya over long-on for a much-needed six. While Rizwan slog-swept Chahal for six over mid-wicket, Nawaz also nailed the same shot off Bishnoi.

Rizwan, who was once at 13 off 14, got his fifty in 37 balls while Nawaz hammered Arshdeep down the ground and slammed fours off Pandya through cover and'over the keeper's head to keep Pakistan in the match.

With 63 needed off the last six overs, Nawaz capitalised on Chahal's loose deliveries by placing fours through leg-side, before Rizwan cut through backward point to pick the third four in a 16-run 15th over.

Bhuvneshwar broke the 73-run stand off 41 balls in the 16th over by making the dangerous Nawaz give a comfortable catch to long-off on an off-cutter. Pandya's strategy to bowl outside off worked when Rizwan lofted a slower ball straight to long-off.

Ali survived a tight caught behind call off Bishnoi in the 18th over. He got a reprieve on the very next ball as Arshdeep dropped a sitter at short third man. With the equation at 26 off 12 balls, Ali went deep in the crease and hit Bhuvneshwar over long-on for six.

Shah then got a top-edge on the pull for four while Ali placed his loft between the fielders between long-off and extra cover as 19 runs came off the over. With India penalised for slow over rate by having an extra fielder in the 30-yard circle, Ali slammed Arshdeep for four down the ground.

The left-arm pacer bounced back by trapping Ali lbw with a pin-point yorker on the middle stump. Ahmed got the brace of runs by slamming down the ground to complete a terrific chase for Pakistan.

Earlier, after India were asked to bat first, Kohli top-scored with 60 off 44 balls, hitting four fours and a six, while running hard between the wickets. He was superb against pacers in an innings where India reverted back to its aggressive attacking approach.

Kohli's knock came after the opening pair of captain Rohit Sharma and K.L Rahul came out all guns blazing in a 54-run opening stand. For Pakistan, spinners Mohammad Nawaz (1-25) and Shadab Khan (2-31) bowled eight overs between themselves and conceded just 56 runs. Pacers Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf had a wicket apiece.

Sharma gave India a rollicking start, dancing down the pitch to lift Shah over cover for four and ended the 10-run opening over with a pulled six over deep mid-wicket. He then elegantly lofted Hasnain for another four over mid-off.

Rahul joined the party with a brace of sixes off Shah in the third over. A beautiful lofted off-drive went over wide long-off while a flicked loft off the wrists was slammed straight down the ground.

Sharma's carnage continued as he crunched a drive past cover for four and pulled Rauf on the very next ball over deep mid-wicket for six. Rahul got India's fifty in 4.2 overs by dancing down the pitch to hammer Nawaz down the ground for four.

Rauf broke the 54-run opening stand in the final over of the powerplay, as Sharma mishit a slower ball to point. India's second wicket fell on the very first ball post-powerplay as Rahul holed out to long-on off Shadab.

Suryakumar Yadav and Kohli got two fours each to continue India's high-risk approach. But Nawaz struck in the tenth over, having Suryakumar slog-sweeping straight to backward square leg.

With Nawaz keeping things tight, Kohli took to taking fours off Shah and Hasnain through pull and drive. Rishabh Pant hoicked hard off Shah and had an outer edge on a slog off Shadab for a brace of fours.

But the leg-spinner had the last laugh as Pant reverse-swept straight to backward point. In the next over, Hardik Pandya punched a cross-seam ball from Hasnain straight to a forward diving short mid-wicket to depart for a two-ball duck.

Deepak Hooda's first four was driven firmly through the gap between mid-off and extra cover off Rauf. He then arched back to ramp a bouncer from Hasnain over the keeper's head. Kohli got his fifty in 36 balls with some style, shuffling towards off-side and whipping Hasnain over deep mid-wicket for six.

The last two overs didn't bring a glorious finish for India as Deepak Hooda skied high to long-on off Shah while Kohli fell inches short of his crease while trying to complete the second run. But misfields in the deep on the last two balls gave India back-to-back fours and took the total above 180.

Brief scores: India 181/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 60, Rohit Sharma 28; Shadab Khan 2/31, Mohammad Nawaz 1/25) lost to Pakistan 182/5 in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 71, Mohammad Nawaz 42; Ravi Bishnoi 1/26, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/40) by five wickets


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