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India vs Pak, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik, Bhuvneshwar Star in India’s Five-Wicket Win

India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik impressed with both bat and ball, while Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets.

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An all-round display from Hardik Pandya and four wickets from Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped India record a five-wicket victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in a low-scoring Group A encounter of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE on Sunday.

After being sent to bat first, Pakistan were bundled out for a low total of 147 runs, thanks to some superb bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya.

The experienced Bhuvneshwar finished with figures of 4/26 while Hardik impressed with three wickets for 25 runs. Young seamers Arshdeep and Avesh Khan offered good support, picking two and one wicket apiece.

For Pakistan, wicket-keeper opener Mohammad Rizwan top scored with a patient 43 off 42 balls.

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Chasing 148, India rode on crucial knocks from Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli (both 35 runs) but it was Hardik who took India home with a quickfire 33 off 17 deliveries.
India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik impressed with both bat and ball, while Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets.

India's Hardik Pandya celebrates after India win in the T20 match of Asia Cup against Pakistan, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

(Photo: PTI)

Bhuvneshwar, Hardik Restrict Pakistan to 147 Runs

It was drama from the start as Pakistan survived two major setbacks in the very first over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The experienced seamer gave Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan barely any time to settle as he was adjudged leg before in the second ball.

However, a successful DRS review in Pakistan’s favour meant Rizwan lived to see another day. Bhuvneshwar continued to trouble Rizwan with a beautiful delivery that whizzed past his bat in the last ball.

The Indians, who felt Rizwan had edged the ball went for an appeal, but the umpire seemed uninterested, forcing skipper Rohit to take a review. India lost the review sadly as Rizwan survived another scare.

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India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik impressed with both bat and ball, while Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam leaves the field after losing his wicket during the T20 cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Pakistan.

(Photo: PTI)

India’s relentless pressure upon the Pakistan openers finally bore fruit as Babar Azam, who decided to take on the attacking approach perished for 10 runs off Bhuvneshwar’s second over. The Pakistan skipper trying to play big, mistimed his shot, top-edging to Arshdeep Singh waiting at short fine leg.

Left-arm seamer Arshdeep then bowled five dot balls in the next over to keep Pakistan’s run rate below the six-run mark. Meanwhile, Avesh Khan justified his selection in the India XI by taking the wicket of newcomer Fakhar Zaman (10 runs) in the final over of the powerplay as Pakistan struggled at 43/2.

Fakhar edged a shot ball from Avesh, offering an easy catch to wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik. The experienced Pakistani, however, showed excellent sportsmanship, deciding to walk off despite no appeal from Karthik.

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India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik impressed with both bat and ball, while Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets.

India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar, third right, celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Pakistan's captain Babar Azam.

(Photo: PTI)

Rizwan, who struggled initially then decided to take on the charge alongside Iftikhar Ahmed to take Pakistan’s total to 68/2 after 10 overs. For India, the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja contained the flow of runs in the middle overs restricting Pakistan’s run rate just below seven runs.

Soon after, Iftikhar decided to play the aggressor's role, delivering some heavy blows as Pakistan cruised to 87/2 at the end of 12 overs. However, it was short-lived as Hardik Pandya surprised the Pakistan batter with a short ball in the very next over. Iftikhar (28 runs of 22 balls) tried to hook but ended up top-edging it to a leaping Karthik behind.

Hardik continued with his short-ball ploy, dismissing set batter Rizwan (43 runs off 42 balls) and Kushdil Shah (2) both in his final over to end the day with impressive figures of three wickets for 25. The Indian all-rounder's excellent spell meant Pakistan were reeling at 103/5 after 15 overs.

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With just a few overs left on the cards, hard hitter Asif Ali (9) decided to take the attacking route, only to falter as Bhuvneshwar picked his second of the day. There seemed to be no end to Pakistan’s miseries as Arshdeep made it 124/7 by the end of 18 overs.

Bowling his final over, Bhuvneshwar cleaned up Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah in consecutive deliveries to finish off the day with four wickets. However, Shahnawaz Dahani’s last-over fightback pushed Pakistan past the 140-mark before Arshdeep shattered his stumps to end the Pakistan innings for 147 runs.

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India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022: Hardik impressed with both bat and ball, while Bhuvneshwar picked four wickets.

India's KL Rahul is bowled out by Pakistan's Naseem Shah during the T20 cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Pakistan, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

(Photo: PTI)

Hardik Takes India Past the Finish Line

In reply, India suffered an setback in the first over, losing KL Rahul for a golden duck to an inside edge off debutant Naseem Shah’s second delivery. Pakistan missed another opportunity a ball later as Fakhar Zaman dropped star batter Virat Kohli at third slip.

Kohli, appearing in his 100th T20 international played a few attacking shots to take India's total to 38/1 alongside skipper Rohit Sharma at the end of the powerplay. Just when things looked in control, India lost Rohit to a miscued shot off spinner Nawaz's over, straight into the hands of Iftikhar.

Nawaz returned an over later to put India on the backfoot once again as Kohli (35 runs off 34 balls), who until then looked in fine touch gifted his wicket by sending one down long-off's throat, once again to a waiting Iftikhar.

After 10 overs, India were struggling at 62/3 with the run rate just over six.
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Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav tried to steady the ship, taking India close to the 90-run mark. However, young pacer Naseem returned to the attack to give Pakistan the much-needed breakthrough.

The 19-year-old knocked out the off stump of Suryakumar, who managed 18 off 18 deliveries, picking his second wicket of the game. With the required run rate close to a little over 10 after 15 overs India looked in clear spot of bother.

Jadeja, who survived a leg-before appeal off Naseem's last over (18th) following a DRS review, dispatched the young debutant for a straight six to take India closer to the target.

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Hardik Pandya then came into the act, scoring at a brisk pace and hitting three fours off Haris Rauf's penultimate over. With seven runs required off the last over, there was a late twist in the tale as India lost Jadeja (35 runs off 29 balls) to Nawaz in the first ball.

However, Hardik finished off the proceedings in style with a superb six to register a five-wicket win against Pakistan, thereby, exacting revenge for India's humiliating defeat to the same opponents in the 2021 T20 World Cup.

The win now puts India atop the Group A standings. The Rohit-led side will next face Hong Kong on August 31 at 7:30pm IST in the same venue.

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