Pakistan crumble in run chase against India in crunch T20 World Cup encounter

Pakistan crumble in run chase against India in crunch T20 World Cup encounter


source: Copyright (c) (media approved partner – Trevine Rodrigo – eLanka)

The safe hands of Rishabh Pant and the combined bowling efforts of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya got India a narrow but crucial win over rivals Pakistan in Group A of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

It was a victory that had looked reasonably unlikely when Pakistan made a solid start to their run chase of 120, sitting on 57/1 after ten overs having lost only Babar Azam.

They required only 63 runs from the remaining 60 balls – but five wickets fell in the second half of their innings, leaving them a tantalising seven runs short of their target.

Scoreboard: India v Pakistan

Toss: Pakistan won the toss and chose to field.

Virat and Rohit fall early

Pakistan made one change from the team that played the USA and lost in a super over, with Imad Wasim in for Azam Khan, and India named the same line-up that beat Ireland.

The rain played havoc with the start of the match, delaying the toss and the first ball, and then forcing the teams from the pitch after the first over when the drizzle returned.

When they got back on to the field, the drama was all cricket-related. Virat Kohli fell early, slapping a wide ball from Naseem Shah straight into the hands of Usman Khan.

And fellow opener Rohit Sharma failed to make a real connection with a ball from Shaheen Shah Afridi, hitting directly to Haris Rauf at deep square leg, with India on 19/2.

Naseem got his second of the day bowling straight through Axar Patel, leaving India on 58/3 and Rishabh Pant at the crease with the responsibility of pushing the innings on – which he did with aplomb, using variety and innovation to create havoc.

He began to form a good partnership with Suryakumar Yadav who then skied a Rauf ball to Mohammad Amir for 7.

And Pant too fell for 42 when he hit Amir straight up into the air and to the hands of Babar Azam.

Ravindra Jadeja went next ball, caught by Imad Wasim, with India only reaching their century in the 16th over.

Hardik Pandya was the eighth man to go, flicking Rauf towards the leg-side and taken by Iftikhar Ahmed on the rope.

And for the second time in the innings there was an opportunity for a hat-trick after Jasprit Bumrah played his first ball directly to Wasim in the slips, leaving India on 112/9 with 13 balls left in the innings.

It was all over when Arshdeep Singh was run out in the last ball of the penultimate over, courtesy of a great throw from Babar and a swift removal of the bails by Mohammad Rizwan.

Bumrah and Pant prove brilliant

It seemed to be a viable target, and Pakistan made a good start on their quest. Babar Azam went in the fifth over, caught brilliantly by Yadav in the slips off Bumrah, leaving his side on 26/1.

Rizwan and Usman Khan pushed on from there, making steady progress as they chased down the target, sitting at 57/1 at the halfway point – meaning they required only 63 runs from the remaining 60 balls.

India opted to review the umpire’s refusal to dismiss Usman lbw off the bowling of Axar Patel – and HawkEye confirmed the delivery would have taken out leg stump.

And Fakhar Zaman – who had marked his arrival at the crease with a four and a six – edged Hardik Pandya high into the air, well taken by Pant.

The turning point was likely the dismissal of Rizwan for 31, bowled by a full ball from Bumrah at the start of the 15th over. It left Pakistan on 80/4 with an ever-increasing required run-rate.

The safe hands of Pant were needed again to remove Shadab, who stepped across to meet a ball from Hardik, and lofted his effort to the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

Arshdeep sprinted to catch Iftikhar off Bumrah – just about avoiding a collision with Yadav, also watching the ball and poised to pouch it himself, meaning Pakistan began the final over on 102/6.

And Arshdeep returned to the attack himself to conclude the innings, removing Imad Wasim thanks to another Pant catch. Pakistan ultimately fell seven runs short of what had seemed such an achievable target.

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