India, on Sunday, suffered their first defeat in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 as Pakistan inflicted a 5-wicket defeat on them. The India-Pakistan rivalry once again lived up to the expectations as the match went right down to the wire before Pakistan crossed the finishing line with just one ball remaining.
Asked to bat first, India rode on their former skipper Virat Kohli’s fifty to post a challenging total of 181 for 7. In reply, Pakistan chased down the total by losing 5 wickets. And as India and Pakistan played out another classic, Arshdeep Singh has been caught in the crossfire due to dropping an easy catch during a crucial stage of the game.
In the 18th over of the match when Pakistan needed more than 30 runs, Asif Ali miscued a slog-sweep off Ravi Bishnoi’s delivery towards short third-man where Arshdeep was standing. It was an easy catch but Arshdeep Singh somehow managed to drop it and Ali went on to capitalise on it.
In the penultimate over, he slammed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six and a four before hitting another 4 in the final over. His knock did play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the match. And as Pakistan went on to beat India in the thriller, Arshdeep has been turned into a villain. Fans in large numbers have been blaming him for India’s loss.
One can understand the fans’ reaction after the narrow loss against a rival like Pakistan but blaming Arshdeep alone seems a bit far stretched. Calling the youngster the sole culprit for India’s loss is completely wrong as several factors contributed to it. So as Arshdeep faces unjust criticism from the disgruntled fans, we are taking a look at the factors or performers who played bigger roles in the loss:
Failure of middle-order:
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had given India a solid start and the platform for a big total. By the time the power play ended, India had raced away to 62 for 1. The onus was on the middle-order to capitalize on it. However, the middle-order completely failed to deliver. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, and Hardik Pandya just could not perform on Sunday.
With India losing wickets at regular intervals, an in-form Virat Kohli had no option but to play the anchor’s role for most of his knock. Even he failed to finish the innings on a strong note.
In the final over, Kohli conceded three dot balls in a row against Haris Rauf before being run out trying to run the second. India’s struggle in the second half of their innings also helped Pakistan gain some much-needed momentum after their poor start in the powerplay.
Poor bowling display:
While India’s middle-order did fail to do well, the 181-run total was still a good one. The bowlers, however, let India down. All three of India’s experienced bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Hardik Pandya endured poor outings. On the other hand, the young guns – Arshdeep and Ravi Bishnoi – managed to do well under pressure.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar concedes 19 in the 19th over
The onus was on Bhuvneshwar Kumar to give India the early breakthrough and shoulder the responsibility in the death overs. The experienced pacer, however, failed in both the departments on Sunday. In the very first over, he gave away 9 runs and then failed to do well once again when it mattered the most.
In his second and third overs, he gave away just 12 runs in addition to taking the important wicket of Mohammad Nawaz. He had the opportunity to put India on top when he was asked to bowl the 19th over. Pakistan needed 26 runs at that stage.
A thorough assessment of India’s performance makes it pretty clear that Arshdeep Singh’s dropped catch is not the biggest factor behind the loss. The youngster should be credited for making the match a thrilling one after Bhuvneshwar’s poor 19th over. Meanwhile, India would be looking to make a strong comeback in the remaining Super 4 clashes against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.