Ind Vs Pak Asia Cup 2023: Kishan, Pandya’s Gritty Fightback Helps India Post 266

2 September, 2023 | Pooja

Kishan-Pandya Sports

The remarkable partnership between Kishan and Pandya, spanning 138 runs off 140 balls, laid the foundation for India's competitive total.

In a thrilling clash at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium during the opening game of the Asia Cup 2023, India showcased their resilience, rallying from a challenging position to post a total of 266 runs against arch-rivals Pakistan. The high-octane encounter was marked by Ishan Kishan’s exceptional 82 and Hardik Pandya’s swashbuckling batting performance.

Facing a formidable pace attack from Pakistan, India’s top order found themselves in a precarious situation at 66/4 after 14.1 overs. However, the remarkable partnership between Kishan and Pandya, spanning 138 runs off 140 balls, laid the foundation for India’s competitive total.

Pakistan’s formidable pace attack proved to be a stern test for the Indian batsmen, with Shaheen Shah Afridi emerging as the chief tormentor. Afridi orchestrated the dismissals of key Indian batters, including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja. Notably, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah also contributed with three-wicket hauls each.

In the early stages of the match, Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, handed the new ball to Shaheen Shah Afridi, who nearly secured a major breakthrough for his side. However, a crucial dropped catch by the square leg fielder allowed India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, a lucky escape, with the ball racing away for a boundary on the second delivery of the game.

Rain briefly interrupted the proceedings with India at 15-0 after 4.2 overs. Rohit Sharma exhibited a decisive approach, putting pressure on the Pakistan bowlers and capitalizing on the favorable batting conditions. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill adopted a patient approach to settle into his innings.

Following a half-hour rain delay, play resumed. However, India faced a significant setback as Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a lethal in-swinging delivery that breached Rohit’s defense, ending the captain’s innings.

This brought Virat Kohli to the crease, who made his presence felt with a classic cover drive. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s star pacer Afridi continued to pose problems for the Indian top order. A delivery from Afridi forced Kohli to play over his stumps, resulting in the ball altering its course and hitting the stumps, leaving India under considerable pressure. Afridi’s incisive in-swingers accounted for the dismissals of Rohit and Kohli, with India reeling at 30-2 after 7 overs.

Subsequently, right-handed batter Shreyas Iyer entered the fray. Iyer and Shubman Gill adopted a cautious approach, maintaining a steady flow of runs for India, although the scoring rate dipped.

Iyer showcased his prowess by dispatching Haris Rauf for two boundaries, deftly finding the gap between mid-on and mid-wicket fielders.

However, a mishit from Iyer sent the ball soaring high into the air, ultimately landing in the hands of Fakhar Zaman, who executed a sharp catch at mid-wicket off Haris Rauf’s delivery.

Rain once again intervened in the match, with India at 51/3 after 11.2 overs. After the rain delay, Ishan Kishan resumed India’s innings with a six off Rauf’s delivery.

Struggling with form, Shubman Gill continued to face challenges with the bat, ultimately falling victim to Rauf’s fuller-than-good length delivery during the 15th over.

Hardik Pandya, the right-handed batter, made his entrance to the crease and immediately signaled his arrival with a boundary, using a clever bat face to guide the ball to the third man.

With four wickets down, Kishan and Pandya assumed the mantle of resurrecting India’s innings. They adeptly maneuvered the strike and capitalized on loose deliveries, preventing the Pakistan bowlers from settling.

Kishan’s fearless approach paid dividends as he notched up a fifty, amassing 54 runs under intense pressure. Pandya joined the fray with a well-constructed half-century, taking 62 balls to reach the milestone.

The Pandya-Kishan partnership surpassed the 100-run mark, with the duo effectively managing the scoreboard against Pakistan’s formidable pace attack.

In the 38th over of the game, Rauf terminated the substantial 138-run partnership by dismissing the well-set Kishan. Kishan departed after an impressive innings of 82 runs from 81 deliveries. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja subsequently joined the action.

In the 40th over, Pandya took charge, hammering Rauf for three boundaries with skillful stroke play, adding 12 crucial runs to India’s tally.

Afridi was reintroduced into the attack and swiftly claimed the vital wicket of the dangerous Pandya, who was on the brink of reaching a century. Pandya returned to the pavilion after a stunning innings of 87 runs from 90 deliveries. In the same over, Afridi also dismissed Ravindra Jadeja for 14.

Pakistan’s pacers maintained the pressure, with Naseem Shah removing Shardul Thakur for 3 in the 45th over. Jasprit Bumrah assumed the batting duties and adopted an aggressive approach against Pakistan’s pace attack.

Naseem Shah continued his impressive spell, dismissing Kuldeep Yadav with a well-pitched delivery in the 49th over. On the fifth delivery of the same over, Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah accounted for Bumrah’s wicket, bringing India’s innings to a close at 266 in 48.5 overs.

In summary, India posted a competitive total of 266 runs, with Hardik Pandya leading the way with a blistering 87 and Ishan Kishan contributing a valiant 82, despite a daunting pace attack from Pakistan, especially Shaheen Afridi, who finished with figures of 4-35.