The Asia Cup 2018 finally saw the biggest match of the tournament unfolding between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in Dubai. The much-awaited match was supposed to be a nail-biter but turned into a one-sided affair.
Pakistan and India were playing each other for the first time in a year. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and chose to bat first and went with an unchanged team. Meanwhile, India brought in Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah in for Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur.
Pakistan openers Fakhar Zaman (0) and Imam-ul-Haq (2) started off cautiously against Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah and the pressure became too much when Bhuvneshwar removed both the openers for just 3 runs on the board.
Shoaib Malik (43) and Babar Azam (47) added 82 runs for the third wicket, but Azam was bowled by Kuldeep and Malik Ran himself out. Kedar Jadhav was introduced to peg the batsmen down and he did just that and removed Sarfraz Ahmed (6), Asif Ali (9) and Shadab Khan (8) to break Pakistan’s backbone.
Meanwhile, India lost Hardik Pandya to a lower back injury in the 18th over. Faheem Ashraf (21) and Mohammad Amir (18*) took Pakistan past 150, but Bumrah and Kumar came back to end the Pakistani innings at 162.
Bhuvneshwar (3/15), Kedar Jadhav (3/23) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/23) were the main wicket takers for India.
Many expected Pakistani bowlers to do a repeat of 2016 Asia Cup match when Amir removed Rohit, Rahane and Raina quickly to put Pakistan on the front foot. But this was a different game altogether and apart from Amir, none of the Pakistani bowlers found the rhythm.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan took on the Pakistani bowlers and put on 86 runs in 13.1 overs. Rohit smashed Faheem Ashraf to all parts of the ground in his 39-ball 52 with 3 sixes and 6 fours. Dhawan scored 46 in 54 balls with 6 fours and 1 six. Rohit was bowled by Shadab Khan, who left the field with a niggle later on. Dhawan was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf.
Ambati Rayudu (31*) and Dinesh Karthik (31*) then took the reins and guided India to a great win over their arch-rivals by 8 wickets.
PAK 162 (B AZAM 47; B KUMAR 3/15) lost to IND 164/2 (R SHARMA 52; S KHAN 1/6) by 8 wickets