India registered a remarkable victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2022 clash on Sunday night. In a closely-contested low-scoring game, Rohit Sharma’s men emerged winners, thanks to Hardik Pandya’s brilliant all-round knock and brilliant contributions from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja, among others. Pandya remained unbeaten on 33 off 17 deliveries and hit the winning runs in the match, while Jadeja also scored 35 off 29 balls and Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets. With the ball, Pandya also ended with three wickets to his name in four overs.
Even as India were chasing a 148-run target to win in Dubai, a couple of early dismissals followed by another two wickets in regular intervals meant India’s run-rate had been somewhat similar to that of Pakistan in the first innings. At the start of the 18th over, the men in blue required 32 runs to win and Naseem Shah had seemingly delivered a massive setback to India on the fourth delivery of the over when the umpire raised his finger on a leg-before appeal.
Jadeja reviewed straightaway and he would’ve been a goner had the ball not pitched marginally outside the leg-stump. There was a collective sigh of relief in the Indian camp when the umpire’s decision was overturned, but star batter Virat Kohli’s reaction to the incident was priceless. He had both hands on his his head and shouted ‘Bach gaye’. before looking up towards the sky with a praying gesture.
— Guess Karo (@KuchNahiUkhada) August 29, 2022
The successful review came to India’s rescue as on the very next ball, Jadeja hammered Naseem Shah straight into the sightscreen for a six, bringing the equation down to 21 off 13 balls. Jadeja looked set to finish off the match but perished on the first ball of the last over as he missed connecting bat to ball while going for the glory shot. Jadeja attempted a slog sweep as the ball ricocheted off his pad and smashed into the stumps. But there was going to be twist in the tale as three balls later, Hardik Pandya drilled a six to win the match for India.
Earlier, Kohli had scored 35 on his return to international cricket after nearly a month’s break, during which he skipper India’ series of West Indies and Zimbabwe. It was a slow start from Kohli but the innings saw some of the vintage shots from the India batter before he eventually gave in to the pressure of piling required run-rate.
Kohli was dropped off the second ball at slips off the bowling of Naseem Shah but an authoritative pull shot for four off Shahnawaz Dahani signalled Kohli’s intent. The former India captain top edged Haris Rauf for a six and in the next over, played Dahani over the cover-point looking a lot more assured. Kohli picked up his fourth boundary and arguably his best of the evening as he played an incredible stroke – almost a combination of a pick-up shot and a wristy pull. A big innings seemed to be on the cards for Kohli but he mistimed a ball from Mohammad Nawaz and was out caught at long-off.
India will return to action on July 31 when the side takes on Hong Kong in its second and final match of the group stage. A win will secure their place in the Super 4s where India in all likelihood square off against Pakistan once more in Round 2 of this Asia Cup.