Dubai: Pakistan ran out of luck in the last two overs of the match, thanks to the voracious ‘King Kohli’ who showed his class with a flawless 82 off 53 balls — undoubtedly his best T20 knock. More than 90,000 spectators packed in the Melbourne Cricket Stadium could never have imagined such a nerve-racking match, which would be remembered as a World Cup classic.
I wrote in a pre-match comment that Pakistan’s win would be tough if Babar Azam fails to score and this is what exactly happened. Though, the Pakistani middle order tried their best to put together a decent total of 159, riding on superb half-centuries by Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood, they were definitely short of 15 to 20 runs to claim the match. Babar’s opening partner Mohammed Rizwan also struggled against the Indian seamers, especially Arshdeep Singh who set a trap for the consistent opener and got him out for only four runs.
Pakistan skipper Babar also did not use his bowlers wisely. Bowling spinner Mohammed Nawaz in the last over, especially when two of the best Indian batters of spin — Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya — were on the crease. A big mistake. He should have saved Haris Rauf for the last over. Nawaz was immensely under pressure during the big game and should not have been brought to bowl the most crucial last over after conceding 20 runs in his last over, which proved to be a game changer and set the pace for India win.
Also, Shaheen Shah Afridi was a bit rusty. It looked like the left-arm pacer has not yet regained his full pace and form after recoring from the injury. Young Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf were once again impressive and kept Indian batters on the tight rope by not allowing them free their arms in the first 10 overs. While Pakistan scored 100 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings, India heaped 115 runs in the second half of the match to clinch a thrilling last ball victory.
Pakistan need to play a fourth fast bowler on the fast, green wickets in Australia if they want to win their rest of the matches and qualify for the semi-finals. Regardless of the match results, Pakistan and India produced an absolute classic. It was indeed a game to remember for years to come.