The India vs Pakistan match at Dubai saw Pakistan batting collapse after Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked two early wickets dismissing the two Pakistan openers. It was a huge blow considering the fact that Pakistan’s batting strength lies at the top.
One important thing to note about this match was Pakistan’s decision to bat first after winning the toss. The number 3 and number 4 batsman in Pakistan’s batting lineup viz. Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik fought to bring the Pakistan innings back on track and their 82-runs partnership for the 3rd wicket could have helped Pakistan’s total, had there been more partnerships to follow this one.
Pakistan lost wickets regularly and India’s Kedar Jhadav was the one who made sure Pakistan batsmen don’t settle at the crease.
The question that arises here is would this be the case with India if Pakistan had chosen to field first?
Pakistan had won their previous Asia Cup match against Hong Kong fielding first.
Though India had won their 1st match against Hong Kong batting 1st, India lost 5 wickets for 48 runs in the last 10 overs. Once India’s openers were back in the hut, India struggled including MS Dhoni who lost his wicket for 0. The dismissal of such a huge player has an adverse effect on other batsmen on the crease and it was the case with India as Dinesh Karthik lost his wicket soon after Dhoni.
If Pakistan had invited India to bat first after winning the toss, they would have stood a good chance of attacking the Indian middle order. India’s openers and the number 3 batsmen were expected to perform well. Pakistan has a good bowling attack and could have made things difficult for India’s middle order that struggled against Hong Kong.
Pakistan will play be playing against India in the super four on 23rd September at the same venue. Pakistan can play on their strengths, that is their bowling attack. They could avoid a similar situation if they turn the tables on India and let India bat first and test their middle order.
When a team bats first against India, no score can be said to be enough and it puts a pressure on the batsmen to score higher runs. As with India and Pakistan the game is more than just cricket. It is a game of nerves, the team that keep their nerves and sticks to their strategy, executes it like Bhuvneshwar Kumar did against the openers, they end up being on the winning side.
It was truly a wake-up call for Pakistan and fans can expect a comeback from Pakistan as they did in the Champions Trophy. With Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, and Shardul Thakur all out of the Asia Cup 2018 due to injury, the onus of putting together a winning team is on Rohit Sharma and team India.
Cricket predictions for the next India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2018 super four match can now be changing fast and the scales could just shift in Pakistan’s favour despite the previous loss.