Submitted by Amith Chakrapani on Mon, 06/10/2024 - 17:45

India clinch nail-biting thriller against Pakistan to climb back to the top of the points table

10 Jun, 2024
India clinch nail-biting thriller against Pakistan to climb back to the top of the points table
10 Jun, 2024 By Editor

Team India secured their second consecutive win of the T20 World Cup as they pipped their arch-rivals, Pakistan in a nail-biting thriller. The victory against their continental counterparts certainly didn’t come easy as it was a historic defence which needed some heroic bowling, particularly in the death, while the win also propelled them to the top of the points table in Group A.

Winning the toss, Pakistan put India to bat. There were early jitters for the Men in Blue as they lost Virat Kohli (4) and Rohit Sharma (13) in no time whatsoever. Teetering at 19/2, India rode on some solid batting from Rishabh Pant (42) and Axar Patel (20) to bail themselves out of the immediate jeopardy but the job was far from done.

Naseem Shah’s return into the bowling attack left Axar stunned as his stumps were rattled by a delivery that stayed low. Pant continued the battle with Suryakumar Yadav but once the latter fell to Haris Rauf for seven, the floodgates opened up.

Pakistan was quick to latch onto the clues and they stormed in through the gates leaving India skittled out for 119. Pant was the leading run scorer while cameos from Arshdeep Singh (9) and Mohammed Siraj (7) proved to be extremely handy.

In order to win the match, India had to defend their lowest ever runs on the board in a T20 match-up. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan started on a slightly slower note as the required ask wasn’t humongous. Rizwan was granted an early life when Shivam Dube dropped an absolute sitter at deep fine leg while he was batting for 10.

However, it was Jasprit Bumrah who gave India the all-important breakthrough as he induced a sharp edge from Babar Azam (13) and Suryakumar Yadav grabbed a fine take in the slip cordon. Despite the fall of Babar, Usman Khan (13) continued to fight alongside Rizwan while both seemed too cagey in their early exploits.

Adding 31 runs for the second wicket, it was Khan who couldn’t get the better of Axar Patel as he skidded one off the surface to leave the lanky batter stranded in front of the stumps. Fakhar Zaman (13) was the new batter in and wore his intentions on his sleeve as he went after the Indian bowlers in order to up the ante.

Despite initial success, Zaman didn’t last long as Hardik Pandya’s shorter delivery caught him off-guard and he skied one straight into the hands of Rishabh Pant who tracked back and snatched a mid-air ripper. Things went further downhill for Pakistan as Jasprit Bumrah returned into the attack and produced gold straightaway as he claimed Mohammad Rizwan on the very first ball of his second spell.

Battering one through the wobbly defences of Rizwan he sent him packing for a warring 31 off 44 balls. The fall of the seasoned wicket-keeping batter for the Men in Green is what opened up the doorway for India as they started believing.

Rishabh Pant pulled off another fine take as next in the long line of woes for Pakistan, it was Shadab Khan who was heading back to the pavilion for just four runs. When Shadab got out, Pakistan still needed 32 runs from 21 balls.

Extraordinary captaincy from Rohit Sharma that witnessed him showing faith in his bowlers was a crucial step in a very critical juncture of the game. Mohammed Siraj was introduced in the 17th over and he just conceded nine runs, still very much keeping the equation alive.

It was Jasprit Bumrah, however, who changed the game completely as he just conceded three runs in the penultimate over and also bagged the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed as Arshdeep Singh made no mistake despite a looming threat of collision with Suryakumar Yadav.

It was Arshdeep himself who was tasked with the responsibility of bowling the final over while he had to defend 18 runs. The very first ball saw him bagging the crucial scalp of Imad Wasim as Rishabh Pant claimed another stunner behind the stumps. Naseem Shah did manage to get back-to-back boundaries but that wasn’t enough to seal the deal as India clinched a six-run win, spawning history in the process. Jasprit Bumrah won the Player of the Match award for his brilliant spells that saw him registering figures of 3/14 from his allotment of four overs.