The start of the campaign for the two teams in this edition of the T20 World Cup had the extra sets of eyes on it because of the iconic rivalry between India and Pakistan. Before this match, India had complete dominance over Pakistan in T20 World Cup. They led by 5-0, but as it turns out, Pakistan had different plans to take out India in the first match. This time it was they who had all the control of the match and completely dominated their opposition. Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, finally broke the jinx of losing to India in the World Cup and got their first win in their scoreline.
Story of the match
Pakistan won the toss chose to field first. This was an important toss as there was some swing on offer early on, and the dew would always make batting easier in the second half. Virat, at the toss, said they don’t mind batting first, but would have bowled first as well, and that the batting conditions will stay the same throughout. As it turns out, it was the shift in batting conditions that helped Pakistan win the match.
Both openers were expected to be India’s top contenders to win them the match, but thanks to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s brilliance they were dismissed early in the innings. With the early swing on offer, Afridi trapped Rohit Sharma in front of the wickets, and Kl absolutely misplayed what was an exceptional delivery by Afridi. The ball took the inside edge and went on to hit the stumps. Suryakumar Yadav returned to the dressing room shortly after. Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant stabilized the innings, and India was able to reach a total of 151 in 20 overs, which was not the best total but a defendable one.
The biggest threat still lied before India in the second innings, Pakistani openers. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have been in great form throughout the year, and they looked very confident going into this match. Indian bowlers made good efforts to get rid of them, but they played brilliantly and tackled every situation. The playing conditions also had become better for the batsmen, which was an added advantage. This pair played the entire second innings and won Pakistan the match by 10 wickets and 13 balls to spare.
Shaheen Shah Afridi’s opening spell- This spell was one of his personal bests because he picked up wickets of the openers, who were in form, and could have taken away the match easily from Pakistan. He was economical too, he gave away just 14 runs in his opening spell of 3 overs.
Taking the airbornes- Pakistan team was electric in the field. When the batsmen were trying to hit the ball, they mistimed a few which resulted in Pakistan taking some excellent catches. Two of them were in the air for more than 3.5 – 4 seconds. Shadab Khan and Babar Azam took brilliant catches.
Virat’s composure- Virat Kohli played an important knock when India had lost a few wickets early on. He looked confident in his approach and took calculated risks. He scored a fifty, which was important for his personal form at the start of the tournament.
Pant’s quickfire- After a good season with Delhi Capitals, Rishabh pant has a different role with the Indian side. In the match, when India lost a few wickets, he stitched a partnership with Kohli to give India some hope. He attacked while Kohli anchored and got a score of 39 in 30 balls.
The duo of Azam and Rizwan- Both these players have been in outstanding form since the PSL earlier this year, and have continued that in the international matches as well. Their opening partnership helped Pakistan win the match by 10 wickets.
Hits & Flops
Shaheen Shah Afridi- Afridi picked up a total of 3 wickets and conceded 31 runs in his 4 overs. He won the man of the match award for his performance.
Babar Azam & Mohammad Rizwan- The opening pair of Pakistan completely dominated the second innings, and never gave India any chances to win.
Virat Kohli & Rishabh Pant- In the middle-order, these two kept India’s hopes alive and got the team to a respectable total.
India’s openers- Indian opening pair is one of the best in the world, but none of them could make an impact on the game.
Indian bowling unit- India was not able to take wickets, and they almost lost all their belief which gave Pakistan a freer hand to score more runs.