IND vs PAK 2022: 5 observations from India's win over Pakistan

Virat Kohli looked promising after his initial struggle
Virat Kohli looked promising after struggling initially.

India's Asia Cup 2022 clash against Pakistan was worth every bit of the hype. The clash between the arch-rivals saw Rohit Sharma's men notch up a close five-wicket win at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (August 28).

Chasing 148, KL Rahul was dismissed for a golden duck. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli went into a rebuild before falling in quick succession once they put up a sizeable partnership after navigating a challenging powerplay.

Ravindra Jadeja's 29-ball 35 was pivotal in seeing the side home in an absolute thriller, while Hardik Pandya (33* off 17) pitched in with an all-round performance.

It was an impressive bowling display by Pakistan who did well to slow down the tempo and make it difficult for the opposition batters. Debutant Naseem Shah was brilliant, bagging Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav, while Shadab Khan conceded 19 runs from his four overs, making the chase tough for India.

Pakistan had some notable contributions from Mohammad Rizwan (43) and Iftikhar Ahmed (28), and the much-needed impetus came from Shahnawaz Dahani, their No. 11, who cracked a couple of sixes to propel the side to a modest 147. This was also the first time that all 10 wickets were taken by seamers for India.

With the first game for India done, we look at five observations from the marquee clash.

#1 Experience matters: Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant

It was quite surprising to see Dinesh Karthik being picked over Rishabh Pant, but the bold move stems from the fact that India fielded their best XI and picked the perfect balance of youth and experience.

Dinesh Karthik has been a good touch for India in T20Is. His revamped game was distinctly clear in IPL 2022 and subsequent games that followed.

However, one can't necessarily conclude that Karthik will be donning the gloves every game. With the horses-for-courses policy pretty much the way to go, there's every chance he and Pant will share wicketkeeping duties over the next few months leading up to the ICC T20 World Cup.

#2 India hit jackpot with early Babar Azam dismissal

While Babar Azam was the aggressor early on, crashing Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh for a boundary each, the former got the better of the Pakistan skipper by bowling a nippy shorter one and inducing a top edge. Arshdeep took an easy one at short fine leg to send Azam back to the dugout for just 10.

The good work continued with fortune going Avesh Khan's way when Fakhar Zaman feathered a shorter one to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps. It was a stroke of luck for India and great sportsmanship on Zaman's part as he walked as soon as the catch was taken.

#3 Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar impress

The absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami may have led to some doubts over the new-look bowling lineup, but Hardik Pandya's pace and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's guile came to the fore as they ran through Pakistan's batting order.

Pandya dismissed a settled Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed who looked at ease, and then followed it up by sending back Khushdil Shah to finish with 3/25 and have Azam's side reeling at 97/5.

Kumar rattled the lower order to finish with 4/26 from his four overs. Arshdeep finished with 2/33 after conceding 11 in the final over. Avesh Khan was on the expensive side with 1/19 in two overs, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja played their part in stemming the run flow.

#4 Virat Kohli's 100th T20I was a mixed affair

Wobbly and rusty, it wasn't the greatest start for Virat Kohli in his 100th T20I after he walked out to bat in the first over. He was dropped once but, in Fakhar Zaman's defense, it was a tough grab at second slip off Naseem Shah's oustwinger.

He struggled for timing against Dahani, but managed to swivel to deep midwicket to get cracking. There were wry smiles as he acknowledged his rust after an extended break when he mistimed some of Shah's quicker bullets.

That said, there were glimpses of vintage Kohli as he gradually found his timing. With Rohit Sharma falling after trying to up the ante, the focus was on the talismanic batter who looked set to take them home.

It wasn't meant to be though, as he chipped the ball straight to long-off when Mohammed Nawaz sent down a straighter delivery. His 35 off 34 comprised three fours and a six. Will he get better as the tournament progresses? Only time will tell.

#5 India's risk-or-reward approach in T20Is continues

The loss of wickets didn't necessarily perturb the batters as they looked to find the fence at any given opportunity. Ravindra Jadeja put everything away in his arc, while Suryakumar Yadav (18) kept the scoreboard ticking.

Hardik Pandya further proved the theory by flicking his first couple of deliveries down fine leg for his runs to make sure the side were always in the hunt, even as it went down the wire. He later brought the equation down to seven runs in the final over by slamming Haris Rauf for three boundaries in the 19th.

The risk-or-reward approach was worth it as the Jadeja-Pandya duo notched up a 52-run stand, and India eventually crossed the finish line in the final over with two balls to spare.

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Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule
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