Thursday, June 13, 2024

It was a lopsided match, Pakistan were never winning, here’s why. India vs Pakistan summary T20 WC 2024

Except for the mini heart attack ‘The Sniper’ Naseem Shah gave, it never was like Pakistan stood any chance, believe it or not.

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In a thrilling low scoring encounter, or should I say a lopsided low scoring match, India thumped arch rivals Pakistan as they defended 119 runs while bowling out all 20 overs. India were off to a shaky start as they lost both their iconic openers Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli early on, despite some well timed blows from Rohit’s bat. However, Rishabh Pant’s fearless striking and his fortune took the pressure off the team, with Axar Patel, who was smartly promoted up the order, played a crucial knock of 20 off 18 deliveries, which seems like a bad knock for a T20, but was worth a half century at a strike rate of 180, given the pitch conditions.

India were in full control for the first 10 overs, ending on 81/3. However, they played some despicable cricket in the last 10 overs, losing several wickets in quick succession and thanks to some effort from Hardik Pandya and the tail’s batsman, managed to reach 119 all out in 19 overs, scoring 38/7 in the last 10 overs. Their failure to respect the pitch conditions and reckless attempt to be aggressive kept them away from reaching 130-150 runs.

However, despite that, they were never losing the game, no matter how much it may seem like. Given that Pakistan’s batting was out of form, consistently performing badly even against England in a series just before the T20 WC, also failing to breach the 160 run-mark against USA, who is a minnow team compared to India. I believe USA defeated Pakistan because of Pakistan’s own shortcomings, batting being out of form, sloppy bowling and fielding in the super over and playing horrible cricket in general, just like against England and Ireland before the world cup.

The batting that fails to score 160 against a comparatively mediocre American bowling can’t be expected to score 120 against India’s world class phenomenal bowling attack. It is also worth noting that Pakistan restricted India to scoring just 23 runs in the last 6 overs, and with India having better bowling, they only had to stop Pakistan from scoring 40 in the last 6, which they predictably did, which is simply nothing but bowling class and natural favour of statistics and common sense(of a better bowling being able to stop more runs) towards India. Pakistan’s seriously out of form batting made it even easier. The struggle to score and fall of wickets was evident from the very start of Pakistan’s innings.

It is also worth noting that given the pitch conditions, 119 was not a below par score for India, as although they should have easily scored more, the average first innings score on New York’s pitch is 103. Also, there have been various instances in this world cup where a low score was defended, such as a Canada defending 137 against Ireland despite being a much weaker team, Papua New Guinea being almost the same level as Uganda, making a meagre target of 78 a tough nut to crack for them as they took 18 overs and loss of 7 wickets to reach the target sluggishly and with struggle.

It is also worth nothing that Netherlands almost defended 103 against South Africa, who have a considerably strong batting lineup consisting of the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs, who were both successfully pacified and dismissed by the Dutch bowlers. These instances and all the aforementioned conditions in this article make it clear that defending 119 for India wasn’t as much an extremely difficult task as it usually would be, or as much the spectators may think. And just as expected, India kept the run flow in great control, picking wickets at regular intervals, with Bumrah and Axar coming in clutch every time it seemed like there was a drought of wickets.

Pakistan’s sloppy fielding

Pakistan were rather sloppy in the field(just like in their game against USA), dropping 3 catches off Rishabh Pant with total 11 runs coming off those 3 catch drop deliveries, of which 2 were dropped in the slips. These three lifelines gave Rishabh Pant the opportunity to play an invaluable 42 off 31, striking the ball fearlessly, giving India a boost. It did seem like Pakistan made up for these mistakes by making a spectacular comeback in the last 10 overs, but a large part of it must be attributed to the American pitch which is highly bowling friendly and India’s reckless attempt of aggressive scoring as well.

Bumrah’s best clutch performance

Jasprit Bumrah delivered his best when his team needed him the most, one of the best clutch performances in a cricket game. He has shown his class once again by winning the Man of the Match award in both of India’s world cup matches so far. He is not only proficient at taking wickets but does a great job at choking the run supply as well. His best clutch wicket was that of Mohammad Rizwan, who was batting steadily, having received a lifeline off a dropped catch from Shivam Dube. He was ably supported by other bowlers like Mohammad Siraj and Axar Patel. Arshdeep and Hardik also bowled very well, with Hardik picking the wickets of Shadab Khan and the potentially dangerous Fakhar Zaman. Bumrah is truly a great leader of the Indian bowling attack and surely increases the confidence of all other bowlers and the team as a whole.

Rinku should replace Dube

Shivam Dube has been out of form lately, and displayed that in this match as well, scoring just 3 runs off 9 deliveries before being caught and bowled off a defensive stroke. He even dropped a catch of Mohammad Rizwan, which allowed Rizwan to further frustrate India before being bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. He seems to have just lost his mojo, the only positive he has is the 2/13 in 2 overs against Bangladesh, but that is trivial considering that he is a batting all rounder. Rinku Singh has been a great asset for the winning team KKR in the recently concluded IPL season and should be given some chances, exposure to a bowling friendly pitch and freedom to play his own brand of cricket. Aggressive hitting is not what suits the American pitch, as both finch hitters Shivam Dube and Fakhar Zaman fell, with Dube only wasting deliveries and Zaman not being able to make much impact. Still, Rinku should be given the exposure and freedom to do finch hitting as he has potential and batting in these pitch conditions will shape him as a great player, not to mention he is also a very good fielder as he showed himself to be in IPL 2024.

Naseem Shah, The Sniper

Naseem Shah has been a great asset for Pakistan and the reason I nickname him as ‘The Sniper’ is that just like a sniper, he strikes unexpectedly and strikes hard when he does. He was Pakistan’s most economical bowler in the match, with a spell of 3/21 off 4 overs, also picking up the crucial wicket of Virat Kohli, who has a reputation for doing great damage to Pakistan in the past. He also got rid of Axar Patel, who was playing a steady innings. Moreover, though Pakistan were completely out of the game, his hitting towards the end must have given the Indian fans a mini heart attack as he hit a classy scoop to hit a four when Pakistan needed 16 off 3 to keep his team alive.

He also struck the next delivery very well, giving another heart attack to fans before the delivery failed to go all the way for a six, closing the door of victory for Pakistan barring a no ball or wide ball(which would have created the scope for a tie and then super over). His batting is reminiscent of Pakistan’s miraculous victory against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022, when he shockingly smashed two sixes to win a game which Pakistan had virtually completely lost, being at 118/9 after 18.5 overs. He also was the most economical bowler in that game, bowling at a low economy of 4.75 and picking the crucial wicket of Mohammad Nabi.

Later after that game, Pakistan even shared clips on X, formerly twitter, of Naseem Shah practising batting in the nets, showing how he was secretly learning to bat well. Naseem Shah said “I had the belief since I practiced hard in the nets. I exchanged my bat with Hasnain since my bat wasn’t a good one. I knew that bowlers would try to get in yorkers to me and thankfully, I connected.” which shows he has some decent batting experience and skill he had been secretly developing.

Conclusion

Overall, given the pitch conditions, average scores, Pakistan’s ineffably fallen form, India’s world class bowling and Bumrah’s clutch performance, it was a comfortable victory for India although it may not seem so. Defending 119 runs while bowling out all overs displays their bowling prowess and the pitch’s conditions as well. India should replace Shivam Dube with Rinku Singh to make the middle order stronger and more dependable as Rinku is in form while Shivam recently lost it, along with the presence of great pressure handlers Hardik and Jadeja, which will give the top order the license to play even more freely, potentially more than they did in the match against Pakistan.

Though Hardik and Jadeja couldn’t bat well, one performance shouldn’t be cherry picked while considering their overall class. Naseem Shah is a great young asset for Pakistan and has earned the nickname ‘The Sniper’ from me. Yesterday’s match was an exhilarating one for India and those who didn’t watch it or turned off the TV too soon missed a lot; though those who did perhaps didn’t realise the lopsidedness of the victory given the aforementioned conditions in this article.

Shreyash
Shreyash
I'm Shreyash, a 16-year-old cricket enthusiast who loves to analyse the game. From the thrill of the IPL to the dynamics of international cricket, I dive deep into the action, crafting engaging articles that draw in fans worldwide.

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