“Our Only Game Plan Was…”: Babar Azam On How Pakistan Tried To Fight India

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After suffering a defeat by five wickets against arch-rivals India in Asia Cup 2022, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam heaped praise on the Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who took Men in Blue to a thrilling victory. The crucial partnership between Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya helped India defeat arch-rivals Pakistan in a thrilling clash by five wickets in the second match of the Asia Cup 2022 here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

“He did very well in bowling and in batting as he finished off the game was great. According to me, he is a very good all-rounder,” said Babar Azam said in a post-match press conference.

Jadeja smash 35 while Pandya hammered 33 in 17 balls. For Pakistan, Mohammad Nawaz bagged three and Naseem Shah scalped two wickets.

“Our only game plan was to take the game as deep as possible. Naseem Shah bowled very well and took crucial wickets for the team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish but I think Nawaz should be given credit for performing well in the pressure game. The shortfall remained with our partnership. The toss doesn’t matter, the team’s efforts matter. And my team performed very well. It was a big match for Naseem Shah but still, he did very well. It was his confidence, the way he has shown his advance,” he added.

Chasing 148 runs, India got off to a bad start as they lost their opener, KL Rahul, without even scoring a run. Rahul’s wicket brought Virat Kohli out on the crease, who played his 100th T20I on Sunday.

With one wicket loss, the Indian experienced duo of Rohit Sharma and Kohli played with caution but kept smashing the boundaries to keep the scoreboard running.

Virat Kohli was in red-hot form as he kept smashing boundaries to keep India in a hunt of the run chase. Rohit also opened his hand but his stint was cut short as he was dismissed by Mohammad Nawaz after scoring 12 runs. Star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja then came to bat on the crease.

Nawaz struck again in the same over as he cut short Kohli’s blistering form sending his back to the pavilion after scoring 35 runs in 34 deliveries.

At that point, Kohli’s wicket put India under pressure, but that was instantly eased by Jadeja who smashed Nawaz for a six. After 10 over India’s score read 62/3.

Suryakumar Yadav then joined Jadeja in smashing Pakistan bowlers all around the ground. Both batters played some big shots with grit to keep India’s run chase hunt alive.

Pakistan made a stunning comeback in the match as their bowler Naseem Shah bowled out Suryakumar Yadav after scoring 18 runs in 18 balls. All-rounder Hardik Pandya came to the crease to join hands with Jadeja.

In the 18th over equation for the win went down to 32 runs needed in 18 balls. Jadeja smashed a four and a six in the 18th over of the innings.

In the 19th over Pandya smashed three boundaries and took India to near the win as they needed seven runs in six balls. In the last over Nawaz gave a big blow to the Indian team as he dismissed Jadeja after scoring 35 runs in 29 balls.

Dinesh Karthik then came to bat. Pandya then smashed a huge six on the fourth delivery of the last ball and took his team home by five wickets against Pakistan.

Earlier, fiery and tight bowling spells by Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped India bundle out arch-rival Pakistan for 147 in a blockbuster clash in the second match of the Asia Cup 2022 here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

For Pakistan, Mohammad Rizwan smashed 43 runs while Iftikhar Ahmed scored 28. For India Hardik Pandya bagged three while Bhuvneshwar Kumar scalped four and Arshdeep Singh took two wickets.

Opting to field first, India got off to a decent start as their star bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave his team a big breakthrough as he dismissed Pakistab captain Babar Azam after scoring 10 runs on 9 deliveries in the third over of the innings.

India bowled 15 dot balls in the first 4 overs itself, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh produced a marvellous bowling display.

After the captain’s wicket, Mohammad Rizwan played some bold and aggressive shots to keep the scoreboard running. Fakhar Zaman then came to bat on the crease to join hands with the opener.

Avesh Khan provided India with another breakthrough as he sent Zaman back to the pavilion to give his team an upper hand. Khan got the wicket after conceding a couple of boundaries to Rizwan. Iftikhar Ahmed then joined the opener Rizwan on the crease.

The duo of Rizwan and Ahmed went on to take their team’s total beyond the 50-run mark. It was a good first half for Indian bowlers as they restricted Pakistan to 68/2 after 10 overs.

Yuzvendra Chahal‘s dropped the catch of Iftikhar Ahmed which doesn’t prove costly, with Hardik Pandya dismissing the batter in the next over for 28 – Pakistan 87 for 3 in 12.1 overs.

Pandya struck twice in the 15th over of the innings and gave Pakistan big blows as he dismissed Rizwan for 43 in 42 balls and new batter Khushdil Shah (2).

In the 17th over of the innings, Bhuvneshwar gave Pakistan team a big blow as he sent packing Asif Ali on a brilliant bowl which was caught by Suryakumar Yadav.

India did not give Pakistan a chance to balance itself after back-to-back blows. Arshdeep Singh struck against in the 18th over and dismissed Mohammad Nawaz who could only manage to score one run.

In the 19th over, Pakistan’s Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan opened their hands to smash big hits, but their hammering was cut short by Bhuvneshwar LBW out Shadab Khan after scoring 10 runs.

In the same over Bhuvneshwar struck again, dismissing Naseem Shah scoring just zero runs.

Promoted

In the last, over of the innings, Arshdeep ended Pakistan’s inning as he helped India bundle out Men in Green for 147.

Brief score: Pakistan 147 (Mohammad Rizwan 43, Iftikhar Ahmed 28; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-26) vs India 148/5 (Ravindra Jadeja 35, Hardik Pandya 33*; Mohammad Nawaz 3-33).

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