India vs Pak: Pandya keeps India on track as batting threatens to derail

0
426
Hardik Pandya - TheSportingHub
Sunday night at the Asia Cup was all about Hardik Pandya's masterclass of batting and Pakistan failing to rein him in. Photo: CricTracker.com

Hardik Pandya was a paragon of poise as another ever-tense India-Pakistan contest tilted the formers’ way in the last over of the day in the first Asia Cup 2022 match for both sides, even as the Indian batting was at one stage threatening to implode in face of the sustained Pakistan bowling attack.

Related: India, Pakistan start attractions with bit roles for others

Pandya’s calmness and ability to accelerate at the right time and his 52-runs fifth-wicket stand with Ravindra Jadeja eventually sealed the deal, but not before a lot of ups and downs.

India would be very happy about two things – the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi from the Pakistan attack and also the fact that the Pakistani fast bowlers apart from Naseem Shah were not half as good.

Naseem was a revelation. Making his debut, he rattled KL Rahul for a first-ball duck and almost had Virat Kohli in the same over, but for a spilled catch at slips. He later returned to remove Suryakumar Yadav with India still a long way from home.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asia Cup 2022 (@asia_cup22)

The Indians were on the backfoot when Naseem spearheading the attack and once the innocuous left-arm spin of Mohammad Nawaz came along, Rohit Sharma and Kohli both attempted to hit him out of the park without much conviction and were dismissed of consecutive deliveries. India were in real trouble at that stage and things didn’t improve much when Yadav left soon after.

Thereafter, it was the Pandya masterclass of batting and Pakistan eventually couldn’t rein him in.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asia Cup 2022 (@asia_cup22)

Earlier, India bowled to a great plan, making use of the bouncer to great effect as the Pakistan batters were caught by surprise and many succumbed to attempted shots of these deliveries. It was almost a perfect plan, but for the runs conceded to Pakistan’s last pair, which took them from 128/9 to 147. Those 19 bonus runs seemed to boost the bowling as well.

It was a hard-fought win, and lessons galore were there to learn. India’s spin department was underwhelming, while the ploy of using bouncers may not work again when they meet Pakistan in the Super Four match. Also, they need to figure out how to deal with Naseem Shah’s pace.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Asia Cup 2022 (@asia_cup22)

There would be other challenges too from the other teams in the Asia Cup, but most of it revolves around the two, and possibly three, matches that India and Pakistan play. India did well to notch up the first win, but there’s still quite a way to go.