The Indian cricket team was dealt a shock on Sunday as it lost to Pakistan in a thriller at the Asia Cup. The Rohit Sharma-led Team India failed to defend a 181-run total. With the defeat, India now face a pressure situation in their next matches against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. After the five-wicket loss, former Pakistan cricket team pacer Shoaib Akhtar pointed out some flaws in India’s game-plan against Pakistan. “India must decide which final XI to select. What is your future? Is it Rishabh Pant? Dinesh Karthik? Hooda? Bishnoi? What is your final XI? Find your final XI at least first. The selection looks confused. I don’t understand, why is the selection so confused,” Akhtar said in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.
“Also, for India, all the batters were trying to hit. Rahul was trying to hit, Surya was trying to hit, Rohit was trying to hit. I think at least one batter should anchor and play a long innings like Rizwan did.”
In the match on Sunday, chasing a tough target of 182, the ever-dependable Mohammed Rizwan (71 off 51 balls) anchored the Pakistan innings but it was left-handed batter Nawaz, known more for his orthodox left-arm spin, who played the decisive knock of the match. His 42 off 20 balls was something that India didn’t factor in and there was no game plan for him as Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ali completed a deserving victory with a ball to spare.
The Rizwan-Nawaz partnership of 73 in just 6.5 overs in the mid-stage of the innings had the Indians napping. Yuzvendra Chahal (1/43 in 4 overs) and Hardik Pandya (1/44 in 4 overs), the two bowlers who were brilliant last Sunday, were pedestrian on the day as Nawaz took both of them to cleaners.
The 87 that came off their cumulative eight overs turned the match in Pakistan’s favour as Nawaz hit six fours and two sixes. While Pandya’s short-ball tactic fell flat, Chahal was taken to cleaners by both Rizwan and Nawaz as creases on Rohit Sharma’s forehead increased with each passing over.
By the time Nawaz was holed out in the deep off Bhuvneshwar Kumar‘s bowling, he had inflicted enough damage on the psyche of the Indian attack.
Not having a replacement pacer of Avesh Khan in the main squad also affected India’s chances although to be fair to Ravi Bishnoi (1/26 in 4 overs), he gave it his all.
With PTI inputs
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