In a highly anticipated showdown, arch-rivals India and Pakistan faced off in the Asia Cup 2023 on Saturday, only to be left frustrated as consistent rainfall forced officials to call off the proceedings without a result. While the rain played spoilsport, the match still offered fans some thrilling moments and standout performances.
Pakistan’s bowlers dominated the first half of the game, making it challenging for the Indian batters to settle. The standout performer for Pakistan was Shaheen Afridi, who dismantled India’s top order with some fiery bowling. At one stage, India found themselves struggling at 66/4.
However, Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan emerged as India’s saviors, mounting an impressive fightback. The duo combined for a partnership of 138 runs for the fifth wicket. Kishan was the top scorer for India, contributing 82 runs, while Pandya played a crucial innings with 87 runs to his name. Pandya’s matured knock was a stark contrast to his previous performance during the West Indies tour, where he had struggled.
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Matthew Hayden Heaps Praises on Hardik’s Composed Innings
What stood out in Pandya’s innings was his ability to rotate the strike and maintain composure under pressure. Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden praised Pandya for his knock, highlighting his role in keeping Kishan comfortable at the other end.
“He (Hardik Pandya) should’ve scored 120. He knew he had Ishan Kishan at the other end. But he played really well. He did exactly what India needed in that situation, soaked in the pressure. He was able to manipulate the strike, he was able to manoeuvre the spinners. He made sure Ishan Kishan was at ease at the other end. In my opinion, it was a captain’s knock. Rohit Sharma couldn’t, but Hardik Pandya did,” said Hayden during the mid-innings show on Star Sports.
Just as both Pandya and Kishan were inching towards their respective centuries, Pakistan’s Haris Rauf dismissed Kishan, while Afridi’s slower delivery outfoxed Pandya. The fall of these key wickets marked a turning point in the match and India, who at one stage were eyeing 300, got bundled out for 266.
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