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T20 World Cup 2021, Match 16: IND vs PAK Talking Points

When two arch-rivals in India and Pakistan cross swords, form book usually goes out of the window, and past records hold no significance. Hence, India might have had a record of 12-0 in World Cups before coming into their first match of T20 World Cup 2021, but the clash with Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium was always expected to be a 50-50 affair.

The match, however, was far from being a 50-50 one. Despite being dubbed as underdogs, Pakistan rose to the occasion, as the Men in Blue lacked intensity and zeal. Batting first, India scored 151 runs, and while that total was decent on this track, sublime batting from Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam helped Pakistan secure a very comfortable 10-wicket victory.

Early wickets hurt India as Pakistan get off to a good start

On the tracks in UAE, we have seen it often that the team who did well in powerplay went on to win the match. The same happened in this match as well. The green shirts got a superb start, courtesy of their frontline pacer Shaheen Afridi.

The left-arm pace gun trapped Rohit Sharma leg before wicket in the very first over of the match, and in his second over, he got KL Rahul clean bowled. At the end of three overs, India found themselves pegged back at 14/2.

A four and a six by Suryakumar Yadav got the run rate going, but in the last over of the powerplay, Hasan Ali got the wicket of the Mumbai batter. At the end of six overs, India had only 36 runs on the score-board, at the loss of 3 wickets.

Pant-Kohli partnership gets India’s innings going

Another wicket after the powerplay could have caused a collapse, but Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli stabilized India’s innings. In the first few overs, they did not take any risk and scored runs mainly in singles. A 15-run over by Hasan Ali changed the course of the match.

Kohli keeps the scoreboard ticking after Pant’s dismissal

Just when Pant was starting to play all the big shots, Pakistan were able to show him the route to the dressing room. In the 13th over of the match, Shadab Khan got the wicket of Pant. To maintain the left-right combination going, Ravindra Jadeja was promoted up the order in place of Hardik Pandya.

Jadeja could not get going, but Kohli did, as the Indian captain scored his tenth half-century in T20 World Cup in the 18th over of the match. In the same over of the match, Hasan Ali got the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja.

Shaheen Afridi’s over gets India to a competitive total

Shaheen Afridi conceded only 19 runs and picked up 2 wickets in his first three overs, but in his last over, which happened to be the 19th over of the innings, he conceded 17 runs. Hardik Pandya hit two boundaries, while an overthrow by Afridi himself gave India four extra runs as freebies. India scored 7 runs in the last over, taking their total score to 151.

Pakistan beats India in powerplay once again

After winning the powerplay of the first innings of the match with their superb bowling, Babar Azam’s team outplayed India in the second innings’ powerplay. With the score not being too big, Indian fans would have wanted Jasprit Bumrah to open the bowling.

Instead, Kohli gave the ball to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was smacked for a six and a four in the very first over. The trend continued, and after the end of the powerplay, Pakistan found themselves at 43/0. With less than 100 runs required from 14 overs and 10 wickets in hand, Pakistan were in the driver’s seat.

Spinners also fail to give India the elusive breakthrough

With the pacers failing to trouble the opening duo of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, the spin-twin of Ravindra Jadeja and Varun Chakravarthy needed to pull off some special. They both did not go for runs in their initial overs, but Rizwan and Azam soon managed to decipher what their game plan was.

Ravindra Jadeja went for 10 runs in his second over, and in the next over, Varun Chakravarthy conceded 9 runs. Thanks to those two big overs, Pakistan were able to cross the 70-run mark inside the 10th over. The onslaught continued for the next few overs.

Batting masterclass from Pakistani openers

In the next five overs, neither of Pakistan’s openers gave India even a glimmer of hope. Pakistan scored 50 runs in those overs, and in the process, both Rizwan and Azam brought up their half-centuries. The next two overs were relatively quiet, as only 14 runs came from those overs.

Pakistan needed only 17 runs from 18 balls, and barring any major late twist, the game was all set and done. Mohammed Shami, who has had a day to forget, was smacked to all parts of the ground in the 18th over. Mohammad Rizwan took only five balls to score those 17 runs, thereby sparking festivities in his nation, as Pakistan finally have managed to beat India in a World Cup.

Also Read: Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli – A Deep Dive Into the Numbers of Two Stalwarts


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