Pandya propels India to five-wicket victory against Pakistan in Asia Cup opener

By Sports Desk August 28, 2022

India chased 147 to beat Pakistan in the Asia Cup by five wickets, aided by strong innings from Hardik Pandya and the returning Virat Kohli.

After India won the toss and opted to bowl first, Pakistan captain and dangerman Babar Azam was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar within three overs, before fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 43 as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 with one ball of the innings remaining.

Bhuvneshwar was the pick of the Indian bowlers, taking 4-26, while Pandya and Arshdeep Singh took three and two wickets respectively. 

India's chase got off to a woeful start as KL Rahul, making his return from injury, was removed for a golden duck, dragging on from the bowling of Pakistan T20I debutant Naseem Shah. Rahul's dismissal brought in Kohli, returning after a short hiatus from cricket, who made an important 35 before being caught at long-off. 

A 36-run partnership between Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav looked to have set India on their way to victory but Shah struck again, dismissing Suryakumar to tee up a tense finish.

But Pandya smashed a brilliant 33 runs off 17 deliveries to win the game for his team, even after Jadeja was bowled in the final over. With India needing six off three balls, Pandya sent a maximum flying into the stands to dramatically seal the victory.

Powerful pace attack

After spinners took all 10 wickets for India in their last T20I, a victory over West Indies, all 10 wickets in this Asia Cup opener were taken by Indian pace bowlers for the first time in a T20I innings as they bowled out Pakistan for 147, a score which they were able to chase down.

Returning Kholi

In Kohli's return to cricket, he became just the second player after Ross Taylor to feature in 100 or more internationals across the three formats. After being dropped by Fakhar Zaman on nought, Kohli looked in decent nick as he scored 35 valuable runs before getting out. 

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