Rizwan, Nawaz star as Pakistan sink India in a final-over Asia Cup thriller

DUBAI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz shone in a tense run chase before Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah bolstered the men in green to avenge their group match defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals India in the Asia Cup 2022 Super Fours.

Set to chase 182, Pakistan steered over the line on the second-last delivery of the match as Indian pacer Arshdeep Singh failed to defend seven runs.

The Green Shirts had a dismal start to their run chase as their key batter Babar Azam perished cheaply for 14 in the fourth over.

Following his departure, Rizwan then joined hands with left-handed batter Fakhar Zaman and added 41 runs for the second wicket before the latter perished after scoring a snail-paced 15 off 18 deliveries.

Following the slump, all-rounder Nawaz, who was promoted in the batting order changed the dynamics of the game with a blistering knock of 42 runs off a mere 20 deliveries, laced with six boundaries and two sixes.

The duo of Rizwan and Nawaz added a valuable 73 runs for the third wicket in accordance with the mounting run rate. Nawaz, however, fell victim to a slower ball from Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 16th over.

In the next over, Rizwan also became the victim of a slower delivery from the struggling Indian pacer Hardik Pandya. The right-handed batter top-scored for the side with 71 off 51 deliveries, laced with six boundaries and two sixes.

Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali then stood up for their team and sailed the ball all over the ground to push India on the back foot. The pair appeared solid and were looking to run away with the victory as Pakistan needed just seven off the last over.

Asif’s dismissal off Arshdeep on the fourth delivery of the final over, however, gave a thrilling late twist to the match and the right-handed batter walked back sorrowly despite scoring a blistering 16 off eight deliveries, laced with two sixes and a boundary.

The twist and India’s comeback into the game, however, was denied by Iftikhar Ahmed, who slammed a full-toss over the bowler’s head to seal a thrilling opening victory for Pakistan in the Super Fours.

Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Pandya, Bhuvneshwar, and Arsheep all managed to pick one wicket apiece.

India, after being put into bat first by Pakistan captain Babar Azam, were off to a flying start as they added 54 runs for the first wicket in just six overs.

The duo appeared solid and were scoring at a rapid pace before Haris Rauf struck in his second over to hand Pakistan a much-needed breakthrough in the form of KL Rahul, who departed after scoring 28 off 20 deliveries, laced with a boundary and two sixes.

Following his departure, Rohit’s stay at the crease also remained brief as he perished in the next over to Shadab Khan, who struck on the first delivery of his brilliant spell.

The right-handed batter also scored 20 off 16 deliveries with the help of three boundaries and two sixes.

India’s veteran batter Virat then took the responsibility and held his ground while the rest of the batters failed to score significantly with all-rounder Deepak Hooda contributing the most with his brief knock of 16 runs.

Pakistan bowlers did well to halt India’s march into the game and restricted the defending champions to 181/7 in 20 overs.

Virat tVirat top-scored for the side with a magnificent knock of 60 off a mere 44 deliveries, laced with four boundaries and a six.

Shadab was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan as he returned with brilliant bowling figures of 2/31, while Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, and Haris struck out a batter each.