T20 World Cup: Bumrah, Hardik, Pant star as India beat Pakistan by six runs

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T20 World Cup: Bumrah, Hardik, Pant star as India beat Pakistan by six runs

New York: Jasprit Bumrah showed why he’s one of the best bowlers in the world through his sensational spell of 3-14, including 15 dot balls, as India successfully defended 119 to beat Pakistan by six runs in a highly-anticipated Men’s T20 World Cup match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

After fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf took identical figures of 3-21 as Pakistan bowled out India for just 119 in 19 overs, with Rishabh Pant top-scoring via 42 off 31 balls, India clawed their way back in, thanks to Bumrah’s heroic spell, starting from him taking out Mohammad Rizwan.

He also got excellent support from Hardik Pandya, who took 2-6 from two overs after conceding 18 in his first two overs. Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh and Axar Patel took a wicket each to ensure Pakistan, who were 80/3 at one point, were restricted to 113/7, as India successfully defended their lowest total ever in T20Is in a remarkable low-scoring heist.

Chasing 120, Babar Azam began with a punchy on-drive off Siraj, while Muhammad Rizwan was dropped on seven by long leg off Bumrah. Azam authoritatively pulled Bumrah for four, before the fast bowler had the last laugh when his back of the length ball got extra bounce and seam movement to take his outside edge to first slip.

Under pressure to tee off, Rizwan danced down the pitch to smack Pandya over long-off for six as Pakistan ended power-play at 35/1. After Rizwan survived a run-out chance off Hardik, Usman Khan broke his edgy run by slapping him over cover for four, followed by the former bringing out inside-out lofted drive off Ravindra Jadeja to pick another boundary.

But India bounced back on the first ball after drinks break as Axar trapped Usman lbw at the crease with a slider coming from wide of the crease, with replays showing it would have crashed into leg stump.

Fakhar Zaman came in to launch Axar down the ground for six and whip Arshdeep for four more, before top-edging a pull to Pant taking an over the shoulder catch off Pandya. Bumrah returned to rattle Rizwan’s stumps, while Pandya bounced out Shadab Khan as Pant sprinted to his left to take the catch.

With boundaries not coming, India continued to increase the pressure and resulted in Iftikhar Ahmed took on a full toss from Bumrah, but holed out to fine leg, who almost collided with square leg, as his spell became the real differentiator between winning and losing for India.

Despite an over-rate penalty forcing India to have an extra fielder in the 30-yard circle, Arshdeep caught inside edge of Imad’s bat on a yorker which Pant caught safely. Despite Arshdeep being hit for two fours by Naseem, India ensured they pulled off a remarkable heist to seal a memorable win over Pakistan.

Earlier, on a tricky pitch where ball stopped on batters occasionally, only three batters reached double figures for India, as Pant top-scored with 42 – a largely charmed life at the crease, where his trademark unorthodox shots got him better returns than orthodox strokes.

At one point, India was comfortably placed at 89/3 in 11 overs, before they dramatically lost the plot. Naseem, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Amir triggered an epic collapse with their brilliant bowling as India lost their last seven wickets for just 30 runs. In a bid to attack in the middle overs, India lost batters due to poor shots and kept picking out fielders, which meant they couldn’t stitch partnerships in a reckless batting performance.

After 30 minutes of rain delay, and another 29 minutes of rain enforced interruption post the first over, Virat Kohli got going with a creaming cover drive for four. But he chased a wide delivery from Naseem and picked out point.

In the next over, Rohit Sharma miscued a pick-up shot off Shaheen and was caught by deep square leg. Amir beat a promoted Axar’s outside edge thrice in as many balls, before the batter cut and ramped Shaheen for four and six respectively.

On the other hand, luck favoured Pant heavily – a healthy outside edge went past Iftikhar at slip for four off Amir. Immediately after, a top-edge on his wristy flick was dropped by Usman at cover and Pant’s attempt to drive again took an outside edge flying over Iftikhar for four more, as India ended a dramatic power-play at 50/2.

Axar skipped down the pitch to drive over Iftikhar’s head for four, but in a bid to repeat that shot against Naseem, he completely missed the ball and was castled. Pant again survived on 17 when Usman shelled a chance to catch his top-edge on the slog-sweep off Imad.

But from the 10th over off Haris, things changed dramatically for Pant. He lofted a slower ball over mid-off, fell over to paddle over short fine leg and flicked in the same region to pick a hat-trick of fours, followed by a lovely reverse-sweep off Imad to pick another boundary.

But Pakistan bounced back as Suryakumar Yadav picked out mid-off against Amir and Shivam Dube chipped a simple catch to Naseem off his own bowling. Amir had Pant finally running out of luck when his miscued loft was caught by mid-off moving to his left and Ravindra Jadeja chipped straight to short mid-off on consecutive deliveries.

Pakistan ensured India didn’t get to close their innings well as Rauf got Pandya flicking to deep backward square leg and had Bumrah hit straight to short cover on consecutive balls. Arshdeep’s run-out by Azam ensured India’s innings ended with one over unused, which didn’t become a factor in their stunning victory.

Brief Scores: India 119 in 19 overs (Rishabh Pant 42; Naseem Shah 3-21, Haris Rauf 3-21) beat Pakistan 113/7 in 20 overs (Muhammad Rizwan 31; Jasprit Bumrah 3-14, Hardik Pandya 2-24) by six runs.


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