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What Went WRONG For India against Pakistan

By HARISH KOTIAN
October 25, 2021 07:03 IST
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IMAGE: India suffered its first World Cup defeat against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday, October 24, 2021. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images
 

India's winning run against Pakistan in World Cups finally ended as it suffered a 10 wicket thrashing in the ICC T20 World Cup Super 12 match in Dubai on Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan struck half-centuries, while Shaheen Afridi took three wickets as Pakistan created history with its first win against India in any World Cup.

Pakistan got off to a perfect start when Captain Babar won the toss and put India in to bat. India's team selection was questionable as the in-form Ishan Kishan, who had hit fifties in his last three T20 matches, was left out and the struggling Suryakumar Yadav was preferred ahead of him.

Hardik Pandya, who is unable to bowl and was played a specialist batsman, but he was only sent in at No 7, after Ravindra Jadeja.

Left-arm pacer Afridi blew away the Indian top order in a splendid exhibition of fast bowling with the new ball.

Rohit Sharma got a virtually unplayable delivery first up, the yorker which swung in at great pace trapping him plumb leg before wicket for a duck.

His partner K L Rahul also perished to the same bowler, courtesy another cracking delivery, which jagged in sharply to break through his defences and bowl him for three.

Yadav, at the crucial No 4 position, failed to justify his inclusion. He played a loose shot to a wide outswinger and was caught behind for 11, leaving India struggling on 36/3 in six overs in the Powerplay.

Captain Virat Kohli was not at his fluent best. But he did make a statement early on as he clubbed Afridi for a straight six back over his head, but Pakistan's bowlers kept things tight in the middle overs.

Kohli got the Indian innings back on track in the company of Rishabh Pant as the duo put on 53 runs for the fourth wicket.

Pant revived India's hopes with back-to-back sixes off medium pacer Hasan Ali in the 12th over. But Pakistan's bowlers ensured India didn't get away. Pant perished in the search of quick runs as he miscued the slog and was caught and bowled by leg-spinner Shadab Khan for 39.

Kohli took upon himself the challenge of scoring with a couple of fours off Hasan to bring up his fifty from 44 balls, but got no support from the other end.

Jadeja struggled to get going, scoring 13 from as many balls before he perished to Hasan.

Afridi struck again in his final over when he had Kohli caught behind for 57 from 49 balls in the 19th over, to finish with splendid figures of 3/31 despite going for 17 runs in his ultimate over.

Pandya tried hard to slog his way out of trouble, but perished to Haris Rauf for 11 in the final over as India finished on a below-par 151/7 in 20 overs.

IMAGE: Pakistan Openers Mohammed Rizwan and Babar Azam celebrate winning the match. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

With the ball, India needed early wickets to inch their way back in the contest. Kohli made the surprise decision to open the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has not been in great form recently, instead of premier strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah.

Mohammed Rizwan, the top run-getter in T20Is this year, didn't waste time as he hit Bhuvneshwar for a four and six off successive deliveries in the opening over.

With Mohammed Shami also going for runs with the new ball, India's task got more difficult.

Babar and Rizwan batted sensibly in the Powerplay, picking the right balls to score boundaries, as they put on 43 in the first six overs but, importantly, denied India a wicket with the new ball.

Babar, after a steady start, grew in confidence as he pulled Jadeja for a six over midwicket and cut Varun Chakravarthy for a four to Pakistan in control on 71 for no loss in 10 overs at the halfway mark.

Chakravarthy has troubled the best of batsmen in IPL 2021, but Rizwan and Babar barely had any problems negotiating him. They duo hit a six each off the leg-spinner's final over as Pakistan raced past 100 in 13 overs.

Babar brought up his fifty from 40 balls and Rizwan brought up the same landmark from 41 balls a couple of overs later.

Rizwan finished off the game in fine fashion, hitting Shami for a six and couple of fours in the 18th over with Pakistan registering a comprehensive victory.<

It was a forgettable outing for the Indians, as right from team selection to the toss to the batting and the bowling, nothing worked for them!

It was a historic day for Pakistan cricket. They had suffered 13 straight defeats at the hands of India in World Cups -- both ODIs and T20Is -- a run which started way back in 1992, but they finally broke the World Cup hoodoo against their arch-rivals with a 10 wicket win.

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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com

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