India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2023: The Indian batters struggled against Pakistan.© Twitter
The Indian cricket team was dealt a rude shocker by a quality pace attack of the Pakistan cricket team as the famed top-order consisting Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill departed early. While India captain Rohit Sharma fell for 11 in the fifth over, Virat Kohli (4) got out in the seventh over. By 14.1 overs, India were 66/4. Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fell victim to Shaheen Afridi‘s terrific pace bowling. The left-arm pacer also took the wickets of India’s top-scorer Hardik Pandya (87) and Ravindra Jadeja (14).
Shreyas Iyer came to bat at No. 4 and scored 14. Had it not been for Hardik Pandya (87) and Ishan Kishan (82), India would have struggled to cross the 250-run mark. Ultimately, they set a 267-run target for Pakistan.
India’s World Cup hero Gautam Gambhir was not happy with the batting order at all. He indicated that India’s seniors should bat at ‘tough positions.’
“The kind of form that Ishan Kishan is in, he scored half-century while opening in West Indies. The senior players should bat in the tough positions. Not any youngster. If someone is to bat at No.4, it should’ve been Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma. The seniors should take up the difficult job. You should give a youngster his natural position to excel.” Gautam Gambhir said during commentary on Saturday.
Rain played spoilsport in the match. There were several rain delays as the second innings got washed out.
Kishan (82 off 81 balls) and Pandya (87 off 90 balls) kept Pakistan bowlers at bay with a 138-run fifth wicket stand of 141 balls. They joined forces after Pakistan pacers Afridi, who accounted for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli early, and Haris Rauf combined to reduce India to 66 for 4 in 14.1 overs.
In a sense, it was a rather unfamiliar job for both Pandya and Kishan, who generally love to give a wallop to the bowlers. But the conditions at Pallekele, which always had a lick of drizzle, and a high-octane bowling attack meant that the Indian pair would have to curb their shot-making instincts. They had to be precise in the selection of each shot, and needed to be extra patient.
Afridi (4 for 35) tailed the ball in, Naseem Shah tested their awareness outside the off-stump and Rauf (3 for 58) pounded in those heavy balls, but the Indian duo soaked in all those tough moments.
With PTI inputs
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