Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar)
In the highly anticipated clash of the Asia Cup 2023, India and Pakistan faced off against each other. Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first. The Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, provided a fantastic start to their team, displaying some exceptional shots that left the Pakistani bowlers struggling. However, rain interrupted the game on September 10, and it resumed on September 11.
After the dismissal of the Indian openers, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli formed a formidable partnership for the fourth wicket. Rahul scored an impressive 111 runs, while Kohli contributed 122 runs. Their partnership reached a remarkable total of 233 runs, with Kohli hitting nine fours and three sixes, and Rahul smashing 12 fours and two sixes.
Chasing the target set by India, Pakistan faced a daunting task. Their openers struggled against the exceptional bowling of India’s new ball bowlers, particularly Jasprit Bumrah, who utilised his swing, pace, and bounce effectively. The Pakistani batters found it difficult to handle these in challenging conditions.
Kuldeep Yadav emerged as the standout bowler for India, taking five wickets while conceding only 25 runs in his eight overs. Additionally, Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Shardul Thakur each claimed one wicket. Pakistan could not offer much resistance to India’s impressive bowling attack, with Fakhar Zaman being their highest scorer with 27 runs off 50 balls, including two fours.
Pakistan’s innings concluded at a mere total of 128 runs, with Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf unable to bat due to injury. India comfortably won the match by a margin of 228 runs.
Looking ahead, on September 12, India will face Sri Lanka, while Pakistan will wait for their match against Sri Lanka on September 14.
Losing skipper Babar Azam said:
Weather was not in our hands but we tried our best. We were not up to the mark with our batting and bowling. They (Indian openers) had plans for our bowlers and started well and that was followed up by Virat and Rahul. Jasprit and Siraj bowled well in the first 10 overs and swung the ball both ways, but our batting was not up to the mark.
Winning skipper Rohit Sharma said:
We just wanted to get out on the park, to get some game time. Lot of guys haven’t had that. That could only happen thanks to a great effort from the groundsmen. I know how tough it is to cover and remove covers from the whole ground. On behalf of the entire team, we would like to thank them. (On batting) Fantastic performance, right from yesterday. When we started, we knew the wicket was good and we had to adjust with the rain, the two experienced (Kohli an Rahul) guys we knew they’d take time to get their eye in and then we can get going. (On Bumrah) Looked good, he swung it both ways and he’s worked really hard for the last 8-10 months. Bumrah is only 27, for him to miss games isn’t ideal but the way he bowled showed what he is all about. Looking at how we batted, there were lots of positives with the openers and then Virat and KL. Virat’s innings was brilliantly paced. And then KL, to get back from injury and then to know 5 minutes before the toss he’s playing, to play that way shows the mindset of the player.
POTM Virat Kohli said:
I was going to ask you to keep the interview short, I’m very tired. I’m always prepared to help the team in different ways. Today, KL got a great start and my job was just to rotate strike. I take a lot of pride on trying to push for easy runs, pushing for a double is as easy as they come. (On the reverse ramp boundary) Because I crossed the 100, there was a bit of respect for that shot. I don’t play shots like that and I looked very bad playing it. Me and KL are both conventional cricketers, we don’t try fancy stuff but we can get a lot of purchase through good cricket shots. Great partnership and good signs for Indian cricket. Very happy for him to come back to ODI cricket in that manner. (On playing again tomorrow) I was pushing for those runs and happy for it, but I was thinking I need to play at 3 pm tomorrow. Luckily, we are Test players, I’ve played over a 100 Tests so I know how to come back and play the next day. It was really humid out there, I’m 35 in November so I need to be taking care of that recovery as well (chuckles). A big shout out to the groundsmen from my side, I think they did a fabulous job.