Asia Cup 2018: Match 5, India vs Pakistan - Who Said What

Sarfraz lamented poor shots played by the batsmen on a good pitch.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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India thrashed Pakistan by eight wickets and finished the Group A on top. The way they had struggled against Hong Kong, many had given up the hopes in this game. But it seems that the Indian team saved their energy for this epic clash and clearly, they came out on top when it mattered the most. After a clinical show by the bowlers, the batters didn’t break a sweat in the chase and were thoroughly professional in their approach to seal the match with eight wickets and 21 overs in hand.

It all started with the Pakistan openers going back to the hut early within the five overs. But then Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik rebuilt the innings superbly and played some delightful strokes. Just when one thought that they will bring their team back into the game, Kuldeep Yadav stunned the former with the one that spun the other way. He was castled on 47 and then it triggered the collapse.

Pakistan slipped from being 85/2 to 121/7 thanks to Kedar Jadhav who took three wickets and bowled when Hardik Pandya was injured badly while bowling. Even the ground fielding and catching was superb from India which didn’t allow the Men in Green to make a comeback. They were eventually bowled out for 162 in the 44th over.

Clinical chase

The paltry total was never going to trouble Indian batsmen and they proved it with a scintillating display. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were in the mood today and with no pressure, they just pummeled the trio of Pakistani fast bowlers. Anything short was severely punished with Rohit playing some delightful strokes out of the ground.

He scored a half-century off 36 balls as well with the opening duo sharing 86 runs between them in 13.1 overs. Dhawan also looked good for his fifty but he was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf. Then the formality was completed by Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu with yet another half-century partnership. Both of them made sure that there were no hiccups in the chase and sealed the game in 29 overs.

Man of the Match, Bhuvneshwar Kumar said:

(On his performance) Always need initial wickets to get any team to a low total. It was a great bowling effort. Great to see Jadhav step up in the absence of Hardik Pandya. Great team effort.

(On adjusting to UAE pitches) On a track where the ball doesn’t swing, that’s the only thing you can do. It’s important to bowl back of a length and try to hit the stumps, give yourselves a chance.

Key is not to give too many runs and force the batsmen to make mistakes. That’s the best way to get them out. (On the extreme conditions) It’s tough and hot, also the tracks are flat and not easy for the bowlers.

Perhaps due to the heat, Hardik got injured as he was playing in England and couldn’t adjust to the different conditions here. Not easy for the bowlers.

India captain, Rohit Sharma said:

Right from the start, we were quite disciplined. We wanted to learn from the mistakes which we made in the last game. Today was a great game for the bowling department because I knew the conditions weren’t great for it. But we kept the conditions aside and did the job.

We stuck to our plans. Lot of improvement from the last game, spinners kept it tight, got the odd breakthroughs. The bowlers took wickets early as well, in the first 10 overs which was magnificent.

(On the early wickets) It was important to do that because they have quality in there, some of their guys have been scoring heavily. We wanted to make sure not to make things easy for them. We spoke about not giving room to the batsmen which was critical on this pitch where they can free their arms.

The first few overs disciplined and the spinners took on from there. Once they had Babar and Malik, they had a partnership, we discussed that there is no need to panic, partnerships can happen. It was important for us to just stick to the plans which the guys did.

He (Jadhav) has been working on his bowling, takes his bowling very seriously. Every now and then, he has come and done the job for the team which augurs well. Bowling those crucial overs and taking wickets are bonuses for us. Especially when Hardik injured, it was important for him to carry on and put the team into the right track.

Quite enjoyed the little innings that I played, got out to a great delivery. Was important for us to come here and adjust. We haven’t played here much and the two games that we have played now, we have understood how to create partnerships and achieve targets that we have set for ourselves.

Opening partnership sets the platform for the rest to come and play freely, do their job. It was a fantastic finish by Dinesh and Rayudu as well.

Pakistan captain, Sarfraz Ahmed said:

The start was not at all good. We lost two wickets in the first five overs. We got some momentum in the middle but again lost wickets and could not recover. We batted poorly and all of us played poor shots to get out.

And so many of them were soft dismissals except Babar, who got a good ball. We had prepared for the two spinners but the third one chipped in with wickets. It is nice to get a wake up call early on in the tournament and we would not want to commit the same mistakes. We will come back better prepared next time.

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