The Indo-Pak battle, which is also called as the mother of all rivalries has been renewed in the 2014 Asia Cup at Mirpur with Pakistan prevailing at the end and at the same time virtually knocking their opposition out of the 2014 Asia Cup.
Whenever the Indian Cricketers face their Pakistani counterparts, there would be huge amount of pressure mounted on them. Yet again, the match went down to the wire. Both the teams had a change in the playing XI from the previous game. India included Amit Mishra for Stuart Binny whereas Pakistan gave Mohammad Talha a debut in the place of Anwar Ali.
After putting into bat by Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, India lost the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan in the very third over of the match to Mohammad Hafeez. It was the time when Rohit Sharma took over as he played some shots that are treat to watch for. When India were cruising through with a run rate of over 6 in the tenth over of the innings, Virat Kohli had a rare failure. Virat made the long walk back scoring just 5 as he edged one back to the keeper off the bowling of Umar Gul. Rohit Sharma continued his good run with the bat and scored his 22nd half century in ODI’s before throwing his wicket away to Mohammad Talha for 56. Ajinkya Rahane followed his Mumbai teammate to the pavilion for a sluggish 23. India were struggling in the 23rd over and quite clearly they were missing the services of their regular skipper MS Dhoni in such a crunch situation. Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik held fort and repaired the innings before Karthik got out to an unwanted shot in the second over of the batting power play leaving Rayudu to do the majority of works towards the end. Rayudu batted with ease and reached his second ODI fifty as he steadied the ship for a decent total along with Ravindra Jadeja. But once Rayudu got out for a well-made 58, Jadeja took charge in the slog overs and he was severe on Umar Gul in particular smashing a six and two boundaries off his single over. A boundary even took Gul’s head with it. Jadeja lost Ashwin’s company in the penultimate over after the latter survived a close caught behind call against Umar Gul. Jadeja crossed his 50 run mark, the ninth time he is doing so in ODI’s and helped India to post a fighting total of 245 on the board. It is quite clear that India are missing MS Dhoni in the middle order which has seemed to have lost its teeth.
It is very risky to put your money on Pakistan during a run chase as the Pakistani batsmen have the tendency to collapse too often from a strong position. The history seemed to repeat itself at the Sher-E-Bangla stadium after getting a strong start, Pakistan lost its opener Sharjeel Khan to a beauty from R. Ashwin before losing 3 quick wickets for 13 runs as they were reduced from 71-1 to 113-4. India’s Amit Mishra, who played for India after spending nearly seven months on the month proved everyone that he should have been in the playing XI in the past. Mishra accounted for Dangerous Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal in quick time sandwiched between ever reliable Misbah-ul-Haq’s second run-out in succession. All of a sudden, the spirit of the Indians fielders rose up as the Indians applied the brakes on Pakistan’s run rate. India’s go-to bowler Ravindra Jadeja had a rare off-day early on in his spell as he leaked away runs to Mohammad Hafeez who controlled Pakistan’s innings with Sohaib Maqsood and threatened to take the game away from India as Hafeez notched up his fifty. Once again Indian Wicket Keeper Dinesh Karthik repeated his missed stumping of Kumar Sangakkara two nights ago by letting off an easy chance to dismiss settled Maqsood. Pakistan’s hand until the Pakistani batsmen collapsed again. Mohammad Hafeez, who scored a fighting 75 holed out to deep square leg off Ashwin just to see Maqsood following him back to the pavilion in the very next over after a miscommunication with Shahid Afridi. Afridi on the other hand, continued to be his usual self as he trashed Jadeja and Kumar. In the penultimate over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar added more spice to the thrilling game by dismissing Umar Gul and Mohammad Talha by conceding just 3 runs off it. Ashwin was asked to bowl the last over with 10 runs needed off it with dangerous Shahid Afridi still batting but luckily for India, he was at the non-strikers end. Ashwin gave Saeed Ajmal his own medicine as he castled him with a superb Doosra. But Afridi maintained his cool and smashed Ashwin for two consecutive sixes to seal it in Pakistan’s favour.
Brief Scores: India: 246-8(Rohit 56, Rayudu 58, Jadeja 52*, Ajmal 3-40) Pakistan (Hafeez 75, Shahzad 43, Afridi 34*, Ashwin 3-44)