Pak vs India: Pakistan's batting frailties exposed as India tighten grip on match

Pakistan are 121-7 after 33 overs against India in their Group A match of the Asia Cup 2018 being played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq opened the batting for Pakistan, whereas Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar shared the new ball for India.

The Indian pacers stuck to a tight line and length in the opening two overs, which put the pressure on young Imam. He tried to accelerate the scoring by charging down the pitch and paid the price, nicking one behind to MS Dhoni.

Kumar strikes twice as Pakistan wobble early — ICC
Kumar strikes twice as Pakistan wobble early — ICC

Babar Azam walked in to partner Zaman, but their partnership barely lasted a couple of minutes, as the latter top-edged a Kumar delivery in the 5th over and was caught by Chahal.

Shoaib Malik, who replaced Imam, struck the innings' first boundary in the 6th over before Azam struck two boundaries of his own in the 7th to take the score to 20-2.

After that spree of boundaries runs dried up again as Kumar and Bumrah's accurate bowling allowed few opportunities to the batters to free their arms.

The first bowling change was introduced in the 10th over as Bumrah was replaced by Pandya. By the end of that over, Pakistan were 25-2.

Azam struck a boundary each in the 11th and 12th overs, boosting the score to 39-2.

Malik plays a drive against India — PCB
Malik plays a drive against India — PCB

Malik danced down the track in the 13th over to hammer the innings' first six off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav.

MS Dhoni did a massive favour to Malik in the 16th over, dropping what should have been a fairly comfortable catch for the veteran wicketkeeper. At the end of that over, Pakistan were 60-2 and had recovered from the early setbacks.

However, the run rate was under four an over, which gave India the edge. That edge lessened a little in the 18th over when all-rounder Pandya suddenly went down due to a mysterious illness and had to be stretchered off the field.

A couple more quiet overs followed as Pakistan were 80-2 at the end of 20 overs.

Azam and Malik run between the wickets — AP
Azam and Malik run between the wickets — AP

Azam and Malik's 82-run stand came to an end when the latter had his stumps disturbed by Yadav when he was just three shy of his half-century. In the 24th over, Yadav could have sent Malik packing as well, only to see Kumar drop the catch.

Pakistan were dealt another blow in the 25th over when they lost their captain Sarfraz when he tried to clear the long-on fence, only to see Manish Pandey take a blinder of a catch.

But the biggest setback of them all came in the 27th over when a direct hit from Ambati Rayudu saw Malik take the slow walk back to the pavilion. At this stage, Pakistan were 100-5 and clearly second-best in the contest.

Hard-hitting Asif Ali smashed a maximum in the next over but then edged one to Dhoni at the start of the 29th over to leave Pakistan reeling at 110-6.

The two youngsters survived the next overs but survive is all they did. On the final ball of the 33rd over, Shadab too was dispatched by Jadhav. The score at this point stood at 121-7, with India well and truly on top.

Earlier, Sarfraz won the toss, opted to bat first and named the same side that had sauntered to victory against Hong Kong in their opening match of the tournament.

The young Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were given the uphill task to rescue the team out of the pickle that the top-order had created.

Members of Indian, left, and Pakistani teams stand as the national anthems of their countries are played. — AP
Members of Indian, left, and Pakistani teams stand as the national anthems of their countries are played. — AP

India brought back Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah after resting them in yesterday's match against Hong Kong. The duo took Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed's place in the side.

The match began after both the teams' national anthems are played — a practise common in football but now being replicated in cricket as well.


Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan Shinwari

India: RG Sharma (c), S Dhawan, JJ Bumrah, YS Chahal, MS Dhoni †, KM Jadhav, KD Karthik †, Kuldeep Yadav, B Kumar, HH Pandya, AT Rayudu

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