Pakistan squander solid start as India claim T20 thriller

Published June 10, 2024
NEW YORK: Jasprit Bumrah (left) celebrates after dismissing Mohammad Rizwan during the T20 World Cup group A match between India and Pakistan at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday.—AFP
NEW YORK: Jasprit Bumrah (left) celebrates after dismissing Mohammad Rizwan during the T20 World Cup group A match between India and Pakistan at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday.—AFP

NEW YORK: Naseem Shah walked off the pitch with tears in his eyes, consoled by his partner Shaheen Shah Afridi. A few overs earlier, they wouldn’t have even thought they’d be out, trying to bat Pakistan to victory against arch-rivals India.

But in the end, they lost a game they’d dominated for three quarters of the way; their rivals coming in clutch in the closing stages to seal a six-run victory that left the T20 World Cup hopes of Babar Azam’s men hanging by the slimmest of threads.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah was the architect of India’s stunning victory, returning figures of 3-14 to help his side defend a paltry 120 and send scores of their fans, who had packed the Nassau County International Stadium, wild with joy.

Initially, Pakistan seemed to be destined to win this one; Babar’s unit looking a far cry from the team that had stunningly fallen against USA in their opener.

Babar regrets having ‘too much to do at the end’; loss puts team at the mercy of Canada, Ireland

The pace battery had come good just when it was most needed, with Naseem (3-21), Haris Rauf (3-21) and Mohammad Amir (2-23) slicing through India’s star-studded batting line-up in the first inning.

India folded for 119 with an over to spare, and Pakistan had their tails up, only for their familiar failings to catch up with them in the end.

“We had too much to do in the end,” rued Babar, whose side now play Canada and Ireland in their remaining Group ‘A’ matches. “We were not up to the mark.”

A festive crowd had let out a huge roar once the match finally got underway under overcast conditions after a rain delay, which had also pushed back the toss by half an hour.

Indian captain Rohit Sharma, though, quickly rebounded from losing the toss and dispatched Shaheen for six on the third ball before the showers came again at the end of the first over.

Once play resumed, Virat Kohli drove Naseem for four; the Indian fans going up in cheers. But the Pakistan fans were roaring two balls later when Kohli found Usman Khan at point.

More celebrations came in the next over when Shaheen had Sharma caught on the square leg fence.

But after a teasing over by Amir, Axar Patel (20) cut loose, getting a four and six off consecutive balls by Shaheen.

A Pant edge off Amir flew past Iftikhar Ahmed at first slip and he got another lucky escape next ball when Usman couldn’t grasp a running catch. Pant was barely surviving with another edge flying over the slip for four as India ended the Powerplay at 50-2.

Naseem, however, returned to the attack and cleaned up Patel. Pant got another let-off soon after with Usman not being able to reach after the left-hander had skied spinner Imad Wasim.

It was to prove costly; Pant dishing Haris for three successive boundaries as India reached the halfway point at 81-3.

But Haris bounced back in his next over, bringing the end of Suryakumar Yadav. That breakthrough saw India capitulate. Naseem took a return catch to dismiss Shivam Dube and Amir got two in two; first getting both danger man Pant (42) and Ravindra Jadeja caught.

Haris followed with two in two of his own; getting rid of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah before Babar and Mohammad Rizwan combined to run out Arshdeep Singh and end the Indian innings.

Pakistan started the chase with purpose; Babar getting Pakistan’s first boundary on the first ball of the second over — a punch down the ground off Mohammad Siraj.

Then, Rizwan got lucky when Dube dropped a catch that came straight down his throat off Bumrah.

Luck seemed to be with Pakistan; Siraj unable to grasp a sharp return off Babar.

It didn’t last long, however, with Bumrah striking and Yadav holding on superbly at first slip to bring the end of Babar.

Rizwan then used his feet to loft to Pandya for six and both he and Usman ensured Pakistan reached the midway point of their chase at 57-1; in supreme control of the proceedings.

Usman (13), however, perished on the first ball of the 11th over when India’s review found the right-hander plumb in front of Patel.

The incoming Fakhar Zaman (13) got going as soon as he arrived, hitting Patel for six and flicking Arshdeep for four before he departed trying to go big off Pandya and getting a edge that wicket-keeper Pant held on to superbly.

Bumrah then raised the decibel level by cleaning up Rizwan (31), raising hopes of and Indian comeback.

Pakistan were left needing 37 off the last five and after Patel bowled a tight 16th over, giving away just two runs, the pressure was on.

Shadab Khan knew he had to go big and was undone by a Pandya bouncer.

India tightened the noose, boundaries became hard to find and a superb penultimate over by Bumrah — that saw him dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed — left Pakistan needing 18 off six balls.

Imad Wasim fell on the opening ball of the final over and although Naseem got consecutive boundaries, the task proved beyond Pakistan.

Scoreboard

INDIA:

R. Sharma c Haris b Shaheen 13

V. Kohli c Usman b Naseem 4

R. Pant c Babar b Amir 42

A. Patel b Naseem 20

S. Yadav c Amir b Haris 7

S. Dube c&b Naseem 3

H. Pandya c Iftikhar b Haris 7

R. Jadeja c Imad b Amir 0

A. Singh run out 9

J. Bumrah c Imad b Haris 0

M. Siraj not out 7

EXTRAS (LB-1, NB-1, W-5) 7

TOTAL (all out, 19 overs) 119

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-12 (Kohli), 2-19 (Sharma), 3-58 (Patel), 4-89 (Yadav), 5-95 (Dube), 6-96 (Pant), 7-96 (Jadeja), 8-112 (Pandya), 9-112 (Bumrah)

BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-29-1 (1w), Naseem 4-0-21-3 (1w, 1nb), Amir 4-0-23-2, Iftikhar 1-0-7-0 (1w), Imad 3-0-17-0 (1w), Haris 3-0-21-3

PAKISTAN:

Mohammad Rizwan b Bumrah 31

Babar Azam c Yadav b Bumrah 13

Usman Khan lbw b Patel 13

Fakhar Zaman c Pant b Pandya 13

Imad Wasim c Pant b Singh 15

Shadab Khan c Pant b Pandya 4

Iftikhar Ahmed c Singh b Bumrah 5

EXTRAS (LB-3, NB-1, W-4) 8

TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs)

DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Amir, Haris Rauf

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-26 (Babar), 2-57 (Usman), 3-73 (Fakhar), 4-80 (Rizwan), 5-88 (Shadab), 6-102 (Iftikhar), 7-102 (Imad)

BOWLING: Singh 4-0-31-1 (1w), Siraj 4-0-19-0 (1w, 1nb), Bumrah 4-0-14-3, Pandya 4-0-24-2 (1w), Jadeja 2-0-10-0, Patel 2-0-11-1

RESULT: India won by six runs.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2024

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