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Records are made to be broken. History is created to be changed. Every losing side ends up being the winner on their day. This is what keeps teams going and perhaps this was in Babar’s team’s mind when they won their first game of T20 World Cup 2021 that was an India-Pakistan Clash on Sunday. (24 October 2021)
It was a day when almost everything went in Pakistan’s favor. Shaheen Afridi got a wicket with the new ball, Shadab Khan controlled the middle overs and Haris Rauf bowled economical spells in the second half of the inning. When Pakistan came on to bat, Indians could do nothing except wish to get one of the openers out.
Pakistan starts by winning the powerplay
When a much-awaited India-Pakistan Clash began on Sunday, Bazid Khan said while commenting that powerplay is key in UAE. Whoever wins the powerplay, wins the game.
It looked as if Bazid had some communication with Shaheen who started his proceedings with a breakthrough on the 4th delivery of his first over to send Rohit Sharma back to the pavilion for a golden duck. Indians were expecting KL Rahul to fire a cracker against Pakistan but Shaheen came back for his second over and clean-bowled Indian opener to increase pressure on their middle order. Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav responded positively with two sixes off Shaheen’s deliveries but Hasan Ali bowled Suryakumar with a nip-of-the-pitch on a short-length delivery.
Kohli helped India cross 150 despite the early losses
Rishabh Pant joined his skipper for a 4th wicket stand in the India-Pakistan Clash and kept on finding boundaries regularly before he misjudged a wrong ‘un of Shadab Khan on the second delivery of the 13th over. India was 84-4 in 12.2 and team management decided to send Jadeja before Pandya so that the former would be utilized in the death overs.
Jadeja looked off-color with the bat or you can say Pakistani bowlers were too good for him on the day as he could manage just 13 off 13 balls and lost his wicket to Hasan Ali in the 18th over. His inability to find boundaries had forced Kohli to attack Pakistani bowlers who were looking to find a way to get him out.
Kohli had scored 57 off 49 when Shaheen bowled him in the 19th over on a slower bouncer. This was a record for Shaheen as previously Kohli had remained not out in every T20 World Cup game against Pakistan. As Hardik Pandya also could not help India much, the target set was 152 for Shaheens in a big India-Pakistan Clash.
Babar and Rizwan looked careful and responsible
It was a big game as you don’t see an India-Pakistan Clash often. Pakistan won the powerplay initially as the team scored 7 an-over without losing any wicket. Both Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan played risk-free cricket. They ran quickly between the wickets. Took advantage of anything loose and wide and kept on rotating the strike brilliantly.
When Indian spinners bowled economical overs regularly, the asking rate started to climb a bit but once the dew factor came in the big India-Pakistan Clash, bowling started to get easier to deal with. Wicket also started to play easily as compared to the first innings.
Pakistani Openers win the India-Pakistan Clash
Indian bowlers looked too ordinary once Pakistani openers started attacking them to change their gears. Once Azam went on the back foot to hit Jadeja over the deep mid-wicket fielder, India went on the back foot. Rizwan also started to deal in boundaries after he hit Chakravarthy for a six on the long-on through a slog sweep.
Once both openers crossed their half-century marks, India’s chances to come back in the game had gone into a single digit. It was just about how much time Pakistan would take before they reached 152. Rizwan followed a six off Shami’s deliveries with two back-to-back fours before he gave the strike to his skipper to score the winning runs in a big India-Pakistan Clash in a World Cup game. Babar just pushed Shami’s 5th delivery of the 18th over towards the deep mid-wicket fielder to get a double. Once the target was chased, it was all about cheers and celebrations of Pakistani fans who were wondering whether Pakistan will ever be able to win any India-Pakistan Clash as well?
How much does this win mean for Pakistan?
Winning this India-Pakistan Clash was like getting the monkey off the back as this was the 14th World Cup game and 6th T20 World Cup game against India and Pakistan had never been able to beat their arch-rivals in the ICC World Cups. Moreover, Pakistan has played in UAE for a decade when they used this country as their second home.
A victory against India is great to start the campaign of this T20 World Cup as well as it will send a strong message across all the cricket-playing nations that you can not overwrite or under-estimate this team. Moreover, the world would realize that such a team should be respected. You can not disrespect Pakistan by backing off from the scheduled tours.
Worries for India
India had good preparations as their players had been playing in UAE for more than a month now as they took part in IPL and warm-up games. There are three things that would worry India and Indian management has a full week to resolve these issues as they play their next game on 31 October now.
The first is the lack of experience for these Indian players of playing as a unit. They were playing in different franchises and have not fully gelled under the captaincy of Virat Kohli who is set to step down after this T20 World Cup.
Secondly, India do not have the 6th bowling option and this is one factor that was the reason why they lost an India-Pakistan Clash on Sunday. Hardik Pandya does not look fit and can’t bowl in this T20 World Cup at least. If he doesn’t recover to bowl, India must get their 6th bowling option to give their captain some options.
Thirdly, India needs some bowlers who would know how to bat as well at no.8. Right now, they don’t have an allrounder at no.8 and that is what puts some extra pressure on their middle order. In short, India needs a better combination and a team environment.