Like so many matches in the past, the Indo-Pak encounter on Sunday at Mirpur also had numerous twists and turns. We pick five of them which had a massive impact on the final result of the crucial match.
Dhawan and Kohli’s early dismissal: Having been inserted into bat, India needed a fluent start. Pakistan took a risk of sorts by beginning the proceedings with Mohammed Hafeez. The move however worked wonders as the off-spinner trapped Shikhar Dhawan lbw very early on in the innings. Following Dhawan’s loss, a lot depended on skipper Virat Kohli. However, he also perished trying to run one down to third man off Umar Gul. The ball bounced a bit too much and Kohli was dismissed for 5, and India were in trouble at 56 for 2.
Rohit throws it away again: Even though India lost two early wickets, Rohit Sharma was looking at his fluent best after a long time. He ensured that the scoreboard ticked along at a fair pace. Rohit looked in no trouble at all as he raced to 56 in 58 balls with seven fours and two sixes. However, India needed him to carry on and make a big one considering the weak batting to follow. Unfortunately for India, he perished to an uncontrolled pull shot. Although, Rohit’s individual score looked good, his dismissal put India in big trouble at 92 for 3.
Poor start by India’s pacers: Thanks to half-centuries from Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja, India managed to put up a working total of 245 on the board. However, with just a middle-of-the-road score, it was imperative for them to be measly with the ball. On the contrary, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami failed to maintain a good line and length and Pakistan’s opening pair of Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad punished them. They added 70 inside 11 overs and put Pakistan firmly on the road to victory.
Karthik misses another stumping: For the second game in a row, Dinesh Karthik was poor behind the stumps. Pakistan were 167 for 4 in the 38th over when Ravichandran Ashwin spun a ball past Sohaib Maqsood and created an opportunity for Karthik to stump him down the leg side. But, like in the game against Sri Lanka, he fluffed it up. Karthik couldn’t gather the ball cleanly and Maqsood safely returned to his crease. The batsman was then on 21. He went to score 38 being getting run out. More importantly, Pakistan had crossed the 200 mark by the time he was dismissed.
Afridi seals it with sixes: Pakistan seemed like committing hara-kiri towards the end when the lost three wickets for the addition of only a run. They needed 9 runs from the last four balls after number 11 batsman Junaid Khan managed a single. The good thing for Pakistan was that Afridi was on strike. The dasher smacked sixes off consecutive balls bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin as Pakistan pulled off a thrilling triumph.
--By A Cricket Analyst