Asia Cup 2022: Hardik star as India beat Pakistan by 5 wickets

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In a final over nail-biter, India edged Pakistan by five wickets in their Asia Cup 2022 clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Chasing 148 proved a topsy turvy affair, with the Men in Blue rocked in the very first over bowled by debutant Naseem Shah, who got rid of KL Rahul and brought back the memories of last year’s clash when his partial namesake Shaheen Shah Afridi had done the same.

Despite setbacks, India found runs from Virat Kohli (35), Ravindra Jadeja (35) and more impor-tantly, Hardik Pandya (33* off 17) who stayed till the end and hit a six with just two balls left to get India over the line.

Earlier, Pakistan’s susceptibility against bouncy deliveries, which had long existed but not troubled them in recent times — at least not in Dubai — was superbly exploited by India to restrict them to just 147.

The Men in Blue, from the get go, unleashed a barrage of bouncers and short-pitched deliveries at Green Shirts, who acted like fish out of water, kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually mustered just 147 runs all-out. Rizwan was the top scorer with 43 and Iftikhar chipped in with 28, although it was number 11 batsman Shahnawaz Dahani who drew the biggest cheers, thanks to his cameo of 16 runs off just six balls laced with two much-needed sixes.

Pacers did all of the damage for India, with Kumar, Pandya, Arshdeep and Avesh picking 4, 3, 2 and 1 wickets respectively. The spinners got nothing but then they did not have to. The pacers’ bounce-oriented plan worked like a charm.

Meanwhile, Pakistani team was penalised for failing to complete the overs in the designated time and had to bowl the last three with five fielders inside the circle.—Agencies

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