Asia Cup: Why India-Pakistan clashes have lost their sting

Before the men in green could comprehend, India's rock solid opening duo had already registered another century partnership.

 |  3-minute read |   24-09-2018
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The world's cricketing calendar is a rather busy one these days. There are more matches being played today than ever before. While players complain this is taxing for the body, the development has presented an upside too. It helps teams to amend plans, improve their game and make a fresh start. The Pakistan team, however, seems to have missed out on the opportunity.

On Sunday, September 24, India and Pakistan came face to face for the second time in the Asia Cup series being played in Dubai.

india-pakistan-690_092418050716.jpgThe Pakistani side did not appear to be in control of the game at any stage. (Source: AP)

The way the match on Sunday unfolded was identical to the match the two sides played on September 19. Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat.

Those who follow the game must have thought the Pakistani side would have a game plan this time ironing out the mistakes made last time, building upon any positives they could find from the spanking they got from India in the previous game.

The start was slow and cautious, the Indian seamers again keeping the run rate and the flow of boundaries in check, but then the inevitable happened.

A slew of quick wickets and it was all down to the veteran Shoaib Malik (78 runs off 90 balls) to steady the ship, yet again. The all-rounder does have an exemplary record against the old foes and his punishment of the Indian spinners showed why. They huffed, they puffed, they ran themselves out and reached a quasi-respectable total of 237.

malik-690_092418051452.jpgShoaib Malik did make an effort to save the ship with 78 runs off 90 balls. (Source: AP)

I mention respectable because despite the game being ever so batsman friendly, runs on the board give your strike bowlers a chance, and they did get one.

Rohit Sharma's innings was in its infancy when a sharp chance came towards backward point and was made a mess of, and from there on, the onslaught began.

Shikhar Dhawan is in the form of his life, and it was for all to see. Delicious drives, crisp cuts and a plethora of pull shots which looked eerily similar to a Yuvraj Singh in full flow, a compliment that he himself will take any day of the week.

Before the men in green could comprehend, India's rock solid opening duo had already registered another century partnership, 13 in total and by the looks of it, a number that will swell in due course of time.

opening-pair-690_092418051000.jpgTwo to tango: Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have surpasses Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to become the second most successful India opening pair in One-Day International. (Source: PTI)

While Shikhar swatted, Rohit rattled the Pak attack. Both reached hundreds in quick time and that target of 238 looked too small for the opening pair. A slight miscommunication led to an unfortunate run-out and the end of a majestic southpaw master class from the Delhi man, but skipper Sharma was there to see it through to the end with help from the ever reliable Ambati Rayudu.

The Pakistan 11 failed to follow up a resolute batting performance with a sharp fielding performance. The showing was heavily punctuated by missed chances and average fielding, a mere necessity in the modern game.

If the arch rivals meet in the Final, the men in green will need to wipe their memory centres of the last two encounters, because they might just be defeated even before they enter the field of play.

All the best Pakistan, lord knows you need it, now more than ever.

Also read: India vs Pakistan: No nail-biter, this — The India-Pak Match was satisfying but also so dull


Chaitanya Lekhwani Chaitanya Lekhwani @chaitanya021

The author is an avid football enthusiast and has followed the beautiful game through passion and profession for the better part of a decade. When not playing FIFA or watching football highlights, he can be found crooning at your nearest Karaoke bar.

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