Asia Cup 2023: Haris Rauf brings out a Venkatesh Prasad-like send-off in Pallekele

Over the years, India versus Pakistan has always brought extreme emotions from cricketers, fans and beyond.

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Haris Rauf
Haris Rauf. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Over the years, the India versus Pakistan rivalry has always brought extreme emotions from cricketers, fans and beyond. India's Asia Cup opener against Pakistan at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium has lived up to the hype thus far. Rohit Sharma called it right at the toss and opted to bat first in Kandy in adverse weather conditions. 

Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf were at their absolute best and broke India's backbone. Ishan Kishan walked in at number five, endured all the pressure, and put on a show. After India's recovery, Haris Rauf returned, picked Kishan in the 38th over and gave him a fiery send-off to end his innings, which took fans back to Bengaluru '96. 

Coming to India's innings, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill got off to a decent start before the rain gods wanted to be a part of this intense rivalry. The break worked wonders for Pakistan as Shaheen Afridi got rid of Rohit with an absolute peach. One wicket turned two when Virat Kohli chopped it onto his stumps for just four runs. The fit-again Shreyas Iyer looked very promising on his comeback as he creamed a few through the covers. 

The short ball was Iyer's kryptonite yet again as he tried to pull Haris Rauf over short mid-wicket. Unfortunately for India, Fakhar Zaman showcased his fantastic reflexes to send him packing. India were reeling at 66-4 at one stage, but Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya stitched up a much-needed partnership to take India to safe shores. The duo missed out on their respective centuries but helped India post a decent total on a tacky Pallekele surface. 

Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur could not add much, but with contributions from Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah, India got to 266. The rain came down during the innings break and delayed proceedings. With the DLS method likely to come into contention and dew around, it could potentially spike up the near-dead Pallekele surface for Pakistan's chase.  

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