Venue- Dubai International Stadium
Timings: 7.30 pm IST
Channel: Disney Hotstar
The “DIK- DIK” moments of Hardik Pandya!
There is nothing in this world called ‘ Silent Breathing ‘. Unofficial estimates put the figure at 30K spectators who watched the match last night from the ringside. India required six runs for a win with three balls to spare, and an ‘in- form’ Hardik at the crease. And a flat-batted shot saw the ball sail over the fielder’s head at long – on comfortably. India had won. The breath held back turned into battle- cries for the Indian spectators and more than a cry of anguish for the Pakistani fans. India had avenged its defeat ten months back at the same venue.
The Pakistani Innings:
With the spearhead missing, Bhuvneshwar Kumar accepted the responsibility of opening the pace- of attack for the Indians. The pitch was drier than the previous day, and the perfect short-of-length deliveries reared at the Pakistani opening batters. Babar fell prey to one, and Rizwan at the other played a lovely inning even though it was a run-a-ball one. Fakhar Zaman struggled and succumbed to Avesh Khan, and the strong lad Iftikhar Ahmed attempted to build a partnership with Rizwan but failed. He was all at sea against Chahal, who dropped him off his own bowling but failed to capitalise on the reprieve.
Hardik Pandya never bowled at lightning pace but swung the ball admirably, keeping the scoring rate down. Bhuvi capitalised on the struggling Pakistan lower middle order, but the cameo by Dahani re-ignited the Pakistanis. The pace quartet felled all ten wickets, and India required 149 to win.
The Indian Innings:
Shaheen Afridi went ballistic from the sidelines watching debutant Naseem Khan Scalp KL.Rahul. Virat Kohli strode in with a billion hearts beating and praying for his return of form. The prayers were answered in a way unexpected. Kohli was dropped in the slips, the first nail of many that sealed the Pakistani coffin. Kohli and Rohit got on to 50, and miscued shots accounted for their dismissal.
The Jadeja- SKY show!
Jadeja walked in and caught everyone off -guard. It was the old tactic of the right-hand – left-hand combination. It did confuse the opponents who started showing a lack of fitness at this stage. The ever-confident Surya Kumar played responsibly but failed when it mattered most. Naseem was back, and Hardik Pandya took him on.
The run- rate was stifled, but the two experienced campaigners knew better. They knew if they stayed on, they could win it.
Many in the Pakistani camp were experiencing the ‘ heat by the 16th over; the heat of Dubai and the heat of the match slipping away. They wasted precious moments and paid the price for a slow-over rate. Hardik capitalised on the new rules and swatted the bowlers for boundaries which could have been saved otherwise. Despite Jadeja succumbing in the final over, Hardik was as cool as the bubble- gum he was chewing. And the flat-six threw many a Pakistani flat onto the ground. India was home.
Hardik Pandya was crowned Player of the Match, A crown which will stay on the heads of every Indian cricket enthusiast.