It wasn't the greatest day for the Indian bowlers as Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the teams' 2021 T20 World Cup Super 12 clash. After restricting India to 151/7, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan hit unbeaten half-centuries en route to a thumping victory over their rivals.
Asked to identify one bowler who impressed for India despite them not getting any wickets, former pacer Ashish Nehra picked spinner Varun Chakravarthy.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Nehra said:
"Yes, Pakistan won by 10 wickets, but I would pick one bowler, and this is the effect of the IPL, and that is Varun Chakravarthy. Playing his first game against Pakistan, in the World Cup, it’s not easy. But the way he started is praiseworthy. The few deliveries that he got hit for sixes were some great strokes by the batters. But the bowling that we saw from him in the IPL and against Sri Lanka, he is just taking that forward."
Chakravarthy started his spell brilliantly, giving away just two runs in his first over, which came in the Powerplay. However, he was taken for runs later in the match and ended up giving away 33 runs in his four overs.
However, Nehra said that he did well to bowl with discipline and was not affected by the pressure of the occasion.
"Sometimes you are playing against Pakistan, it is a World Cup match, so you can come under pressure and stray with your bowling, but that did not happen at all. The rest of the bowlers are experienced internationals. So I would say Varun Chakravarthy was a big plus for India, and going forward, when there isn’t too much dew, he can be India’s X-factor," he said.
However, former Indian opener Virender Sehwag disagreed with Nehra. Sehwag felt that, as an X-factor bowler, Chakravarthy needs to be taking wickets, even if he goes for more runs.
"The expectations I had from Varun Chakravarthy, he didn’t bowl at that level. Because as an X-factor, he has to take wickets. I don’t mind if he is expensive. Even if he gave 40 runs but took two wickets, that is more important. You become an X-factor bowler if you take wickets. Because even if you keep bowling economical spells, if you don’t take wickets, it will be difficult to beat the opposition," Sehwag said.
Shaheen Afridi, openers shine in Pakistan's win over India
Shaheen Shah Afridi stunned India with his three-wicket haul that saw him remove both openers in his first two overs. India never quite recovered from that double-blow, with Virat Kohli's 57-run rescue act helping them set a target of 152 for Pakistan to chase.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opening partner Mohammad Rizwan then put on a batting masterclass as they chased down the target with little hassle. Rizwan scored 79 and Babar hit 68 as Pakistan won with more than two overs to spare.