India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022: Lessons learnt, better prepare

India Vs Pakistan match is always a high energy, competitive and explosive match. In their second Asia Cup 2022 match against Pakistan, India’s star studded batting line-up failed to deliver, and their bowling was as far from “best” as it was meant to be. Pakistan maintained their composure and fought for a victory that they should have obtained much more easily than it ultimately did.

India Vs Pakistan : Rizwan knock took the match away from India

The cornerstone of Pakistan’s run chase was opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s 71, and Mohammad Nawaz’s inspired promotion to one-drop gave them the impetus they needed to sprint home with one ball remaining.

With the exception of Virat Kohli, India’s batting strategy of trying to hit everything out of sight didn’t quite work out as they had hoped, and the rest didn’t really stack up as high individual scores. The fact that Pakistan’s spinners were twice as effective as India’s were in the bowling department ultimately determined the outcome.

In order to force the quick bowlers out of the attack, the Indian batsmen started off as they intended. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got the job done right away, but neither continued for long enough, as India has a tendency to do in recent matches.

India’s attack in the Powerplay received a lot of plaudits, and that is all well deserved. However, given the compressed nature of the game, one of the two openers must be that batter in a 20-over match where the requirement for one batter to stay long cannot be overstated. While Kohli performed his part once more, Rahul, the second opener from the far side, had to step up once the two openers reached their mid-20s.

Look at what Rizwan accomplished. He took all the pressure, especially when Pakistan once again lost Babar Azam cheaply. He led Pakistan to a position from where the lower middle-order had ample room to get the needed runs, despite some setbacks late in the plot, even though they were brought to the penultimate delivery.

Pandya’s early departure did affect India’s final score, but the run rate declined before the top two players left, and while Kohli kept up the pressure, none of the other players came close. Even the brawny Suryakumar Yadav could not hold out for too long. Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, appeared to be very rusty and was obviously having trouble running.

Despite receiving a thorough beating in the first six overs and beyond, the Pakistani bowlers were able to force the Indian bowlers to the crease to bat. Fakhar Zaman gave Bishnoi two crucial boundaries at the fence, but the final score fell far short of what it ought to have been.

In the India Vs Pakistan Match in Asia Cup 2022, the Indian bowlers did not manage to get the Pakistani bowlers to bat, barring Nawaz, but that wasn’t their doing. The question of who will be bowling for India to make it a potent attack is something of a teaser for Dravid and the rest of the coaching team. This attack is not India’s best by a long shot. The absence of the quality of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and even Deepak Chahar is being felt, and India will time and again have to score massive totals if the current bowling has to defend runs.

Pandya is an all-rounder who should come in to bowl after the top five have chipped in, which was not the case here. He has the tendency to get wickets, but never mistake him for the fine like of bowling attack. Or defence, for that matter.

One point about the fielding. The positioning of the boundary runners two to three yards inside the fence with Khushdil Shah and Asif Ali batting was ostensibly to protect against the twos. But what we know of the Pakistan batting, barring Rizwan and maybe one or two more, running between the wickets is not their forte. They like to hit boundaries and the Indians being in from the fence resulted in a minimum of two fours that could have been kept down to two, or even one run.

The Pakistani spinners were head and shoulders above the Indian counterparts and that made a telling difference. Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan had excellent spells, with Nawaz returning figures of 1/25 and Shadab putting the brakes on decisively, with 2/31.

Compare this to Yuzvendra Chahal’s 1/43. Chahal is the leading spinner for India, and more is expected from him on a track that wasn’t always consistent. On the other hand, the raw Ravi Bishnoi was much better with 1/26 but he just doesn’t have the variety to make a major impact.

So, the India-Pakistan drama is level at one match apiece, which will definitely be a dream situation for the Asian Cricket Council and also the broadcasters. However, now come two more matches for either side, with a resurgent Sri Lanka and an always dangerous Afghanistan still in the mix. Much as the money-makers would like to see an India-Pakistan final, these two sides may have something to say about that. Wouldn’t that put a wrench in the works!


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