Rain had the last laugh in the blockbuster Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan. The match ebbed and flowed in the first innings, typical of an India-Pakistan game. Fans got to see some of the finest bowling from Pakistan’s pace attack and two superb counter-attacking innings from the middle order that saved India’s blushes.
Rohit Sharma’s decision to bat first was a bold one with rain in the air and all the pundits felt it was a no-brainer to field first first in such situations.
And when Shaheen Shah Afridi knocked over India’s two big guns Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli with full deliveries which nipped back, the decision to bat first looked foolish.
Shubman Gill, who was trying to play the watchful game, was completely at sea against Shaheen.
When Shreyas Iyer and both Shubman Gill fell India had their backs to the wall.
That is when India’s vice-captain Hardik Pandya joined Ishan Kishan.
At that time India’s run-rate was 4.80 but both played positive cricket and attacked the spinners, Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz, to put the pressure back on Pakistan.
Young Ishan, who was picked for the game due to KL Rahul’s lack of match fitness, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scored a terrific 82 off 81 balls.
Along with Pandya, Ishan put on a partnership of 140 which shifted the momentum in India’s favour.
At that moment India looked to go beyond 300 runs but the brilliance of Shaheen, who was well backed by the other pacers, helped Pakistan bowl India out for 266.
Pakistan were on top in the first 15 overs, then India fought back and even began to dominate the next 25 overs. But Pakistan managed to regain the grip in the last 10 overs.
Still, it was a brilliant comeback from India who were almost down and out at 66 for four at one stage against the Shaheen-inspired Pakistan attack.
The dramatic twists and turns in the game had the fans on the edge of their seats until the rains played spoilsport.
You would probably wonder what might have happened if the rain had stopped and Indian bowlers had a go at the Pakistanis in swinging conditions.
It was the kind of match that brought the dying 50-overs format back to life.
The absorbing battle that the two big Asian rivals produced reminded everyone of the beauty of the one-day format in which the tussle between the bat and the ball could be fascinating on a juicy wicket.
Yes, the game failed to produce a result, but it gave fans plenty of moments to remember.