Rain dampens prospect of a Pak-India thriller; Pakistan advance to Super 4s

KANDY - Pakistan’s pace-packed bowling attack booked India on 266 in the first innings after Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya’s half-centuries before persistent rain washed out the high-octane Pakistan-In­dia clash in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023. 

As the highly-anticipated Pak-India clash returned no result, the two arch-rivals shared a point each. Pakistan, who had two points, courtesy of their dominating victory over Nepal, secured their spot in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4s as they finished their group-stage cam­paign with three points in two matches. Meanwhile, India next face Nepal on September 4 in a bid to join Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4s. 

India after winning the toss started off cautiously amid Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah’s fiery seam bowling be­fore rain interrupted the play briefly. Shaheen Afridi then wreaked havoc on India after the break, as he bowled In­dian captain Rohit Sharma (11) on the fourth ball after play resumed and did the same to Virat Kohli (4) in his next over, reducing India to 27-2. 

Haris Rauf removed Shreyas Iyer (14) and Shubman Gill (10), hindering In­dia’s recovery. Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya then stitched a solid 138-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help India recover from a dismal 66-4. This was India’s highest partnership for the fifth wicket in the Asia Cup ODIs. 

Both batters dominated the Paki­stani spin bowlers in the middle overs and scored half-centuries before the pace bowlers came back into the at­tack and brought an end to their re­cord partnership by dismissing Ishan Kishan. Ishan Kishan scored 81-ball 82 featuring nine boundaries and two sixes before ballooning up Haris Rauf’s delivery to be caught safely by Paki­stani captain Babar Azam. 

Hardik Pandya was then involved in a brief 35-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja before giving a catch to Salman Agha off Shaheen’s slower delivery. Hardik Pandya scored 87 runs off 90 balls with the help of sev­en boundaries and one six. Pakistani bowlers then wrapped up the Indian innings at 266 in the 49th over after a brief cameo of 16 off 14 by Jasprit Bumrah. Shaheen Afridi led the bowl­ing charts in the first innings of PAK vs IND with figures of 4-35, while Nas­eem Shah and Haris Rauf shared three wickets each.

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