Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s decision to bat first after winning the toss at the Dubai International Cricket stadium did not go according to plan with the men in green being bowled out for 162 runs on a slow-paced pitch.
India’s spinners were the stars of the show in the middle-overs with young Kuldeep Yadav once again putting in a solid performance. The left-armed wrist spinner finished with figures of 1-37 from his eight overs. Here, we take a closer look at the bowling performance of the 23-year-old.
OVERS BOWLED: 8
RUNS CONCEDED: 37
The young spinner came on to bowl when Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam were putting together a solid third-wicket stand for Pakistan. Kuldeep was initially taken on by Malik who looked to attack the spinner in order to unsettle his rhythm. After being hit for a big six, Kuldeep struck back by picking up the wicket of a well-set Babar Azam with a ripper of a delivery that gave the batsman no chance. That wicket broke a 82-run stand for the third Pakistan wicket. Thereafter, the wrist spinner was quietly effective with batsman struggling to score runs off him on a slow surface.
Perseverance. Despite Malik taking him on at the start of the spell and depositing him for a couple of big hits, Kuldeep stuck to his strengths by giving his deliveries enough flight and loop and ultimately reaped the rewards with the big wicket of Babar Azam.
After bowling a conventional leg-spinner at the right-handed batsman in the previous delivery, Kuldeep completely outfoxed the Pakistan star by bowling a wrong-one at the same spot. Not anticipating the googly, Babar played for the leg-spin and then could only watch in disbelief as the ball spun past his bat to take the top of off-stump.
When he came on to bowl initially, Kuldeep was a little too eager to try his variations. In his very first over, the youngster bowled four googlies. This tendency let the wrist-spinner become a tad predictable with Malik and Azam having no trouble negotiating him comfortably at the start.
VERDICT – 7/10
For the second match in a row in the Asia Cup, Kuldeep changed the momentum of the match with his wrist-spin. Against Hong Kong, his double blow had put the brakes on Hong Kong’s innings following a 174-run opening stand. On Wednesday, Malik and Azam were threatening to take the game away from India but Kuldeep’s breakthrough put the cat among the pigeons in Pakistan’s batting order as they slumped for 85-2 to 110-6.
That was a collapse the men in green never recovered from with Kuldeep’s undoubted big wicket-taking abilities coming to the fore once again. He might have had a Test series to forget in England but make no mistake, there aren’t any better spinners than the youngster when it comes to limited-overs cricket currently.
Pakistan thumped India by a whopping 180 runs in the Champions Trophy final. Could the Indians avenge that loss or would Sarfraz Ahmed’s men gain the upper hand once again?
The Pakistan skipper won the toss and elected to bat first. After a quite opening two overs which fetched only two runs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck early for India by dismissing Imam-ul-Haq in the third over. Things went from bad to worse for Pakistan in the fifth over with Bhuvneshwar dismissing danger man Fakhar Zaman for a nine-ball duck.
Since the loss of the two early wickets, Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam stabilised the Pakistan innings with a fifty-plus stand. Their 82-run stand was finally broken by Kuldeep Yadav in the 22nd over with the wrist-spinner dismissing Babar Azam for 47. Moments later, Kedar Jadhav had the beating of Sarfraz as Pakistan were reduced to 96-4. Soon after, Malik (43) was run-out by a direct hit from Ambati Rayudu before Asif Ali (9) was caught behind off the bowling of Jadhav.
A seventh Pakistan wicket in the form of Shadab Khan fell soon enough as Jadhav claimed his third victim. After a brief partnership between Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Amir, Pakistan’s tail crumbled quickly with the men in green bowled out for 162 runs.
In reply, India’s openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma started cautiously, adding 27 without any loss from the first seven overs, but once both settled into a groove, they let loose.
Sharma blazed away to a 38-ball 50 before getting out to the first ball he faced from leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who bowled the Indian captain clean through the gate with a googly to break an 86-run opening stand.
Dhawan soon followed suit, hitting a half-tracker straight to point while batting on 46.
However, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik consolidated with a solid partnership, with India cruising to 137/2 at the 25-over mark. The duo subsequently brought up a 50 stand three overs later.
And the Men in Blue wrapped up a comprehensive victory in the 29th over, winning by eight-wickets with Rayudu and Karthik both finishing unbeaten on 31.
Do not miss any of the action from this blockbuster clash between the two bitter rivals by following the live ball-by-ball updates in the link below.
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India’s reply will start soon. Do not miss any of the live action by following our ball-by-ball updates from the clash here.
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Do not miss any of the live action from this blockbuster in Dubai by following our ball-by-ball updates here.
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