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Here Are 5 Talking Points Of Pakistan Vs India Asia Cup 2022 Game
The clash went down to the wire where Hardik Pandya pulled the victory from the jaws of defeat for Rohit Sharma's men. In pursuit of 148, India chased the target with a six with merely two balls to spare.
The nail-biting finish has awarded India two points while Pakistan will search for their first points against Hong Kong on Friday (September 2).
While the game brought the best out of key players of both Asian juggernauts, there were numerous takeaways that management of both sides will have to look into.
5. Dilemma With Asif And Khushdil
Ever since the retirement of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik’s departure, the Pakistan middle-order has been brittle. The likes of Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed have been backed by the Pakistan Cricket Board for some time now, but their performance has been a question on their skill.
Pakistan hasn’t yet been able to find a single middle-order batter who can make the most of T20Is like Malik did.
Despite being 40 and proving his worth in franchise cricket globally, the Sialkot native has been consistently ignored for the national side, as if the team has got someone with a better track record than him.
Khushdil has been below par, apart from a couple of knocks against Australia and West Indies.
As for Asif, his only notable innings came in last year’s T20 World Cup where he anchored the team to wins against New Zealand and Afghanistan. Since then, he’s been a no show.
Hard hitters like Khushdil and Asif have been far inconsistent and their numbers speak volumes of what they bring to the table in the international circuit.
Khushdil has the highest score of 36* in 14 T20Is while Ali averages only 17 in a whopping 40 games. The only other option to replace one of the two current middle-order batter is Haider Ali, but his numbers since debut are not much impressive either.
This creates a tricky scenario for Pakistan that are on their way to Australia for the World Cup later this year. With a decent top order and unproven middle-order line-up, the visitors cannot fancy their chances to replicate their glory of 2009.
4. Pandya Wears The Jacques Kallis Cloak
Pandya was the Man of the Match for his phenomenal all-around display, which wasn’t a surprise since the Gujarat Titans captain has been on a roll ever since he led his side to their maiden IPL title a few months ago.
He picked 3 wickets and scored a 17-ball 33* to take India home in the final over.
He's now comfortably bowling over 140km/h, chipping wickets in middle overs, smashing opposition bowlers all around the park and fielding like the gun fielder he has always been.
His performance in Dubai even got the former Pakistan team head coach, Mickey Arthur, to liken him to a former South African cricketer who was renowned for his brilliant all-round display in early 2000s.
“Hardik in the side means it’s almost like India are playing with 12 players,” Arthur said in a recent interview. “It reminds me of my time back in South Africa when we had Jacques Kallis. You have a guy who can be one of your four seamers and bat in your top-five.”
3. KL Rahul Falls Early Again
Critics haven’t been very kind to KL Rahul after he fell to Naseem Shah on the first ball he faced. Rahul has not been able to enter double digits against the arch-rivals in the last two games.
While he has been exceptional in pressure games in the IPL, the former Punjab Kings captain hasn’t been able to show a similar performance against Pakistan, and that has apparently irked the Indian fans.
Some critics even believe that the BCCI should not have taken Rahul to the Asia Cup after his poor outings in Zimbabwe following his injury.
While there’s no doubt on Rahul’s opening, the IPL maestro will have to pull up his socks and turn up in the rest of the tournament to shut the critics.
2. Is Rizwan Now Exposed?
Mohammad Rizwan was the top run-getter on either side, yet he was the one who struggled the most on the tricy Dubai track.
The wicketkeeper batsman scored 43 (42) before being caught by Avesh Khan on third man while trying to uppercut a Hardik Pandya delivery.
Rizwan was also the top scorer in Pakistan's last win over India on the same pitch, but the stature of both innings was miles apart.
Since the very first ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar seemed to have figured out what troubles Rizwan. Other bowlers followed Kumar's line and did not let the 30-year-old do much.
The Multan Sultans captain was unable to even rotate the strike to deliveries being bowled just outside the off stump.
His shots across cover and point regions are very limited and he couldn't score back-to-back boundaries since none of the Indian bowlers bowled either on the middle or leg stump to allow him to free his arms and play across to his strength.
1. Naseem Can Seam
Delivering the new ball is something we see Shaheen Shah Afridi doing for Pakistan, but Naseem Shah did not let the fans feel Afridi’s absence on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Pathan kept Sharma at the back foot, dismissed Rahul and almost got Virat Kohli as well had Fakhar Zaman not dropped the catch on second slip.
It did not seem for a split second if Naseem was making his T20I debut.
The teen pace sensation went on to register promising figures of 2/27 with in-form Suryakumar Yadav as his second scalp. His opening spell kept India in check throughout the second inning, but just wasn't enough to take Pakistan home.
Shah was welcomed to applause in the dressing room by coaches after bowling a tidy last over despite suffering cramps in his calves.
When Afridi will return to the huddle, it will be a treat to watch him lead the pace cartel alongside Shah.
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