Hardik Pandya’s magnificent all round performance with both ball and bat helped Men in Blue pull off a thrilling 5 wicket win over arch rivals Pakistan in Match 2 in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
After being asked to bat first by Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar drew first blood by dismissing Babar Azam (10) top edging a short ball to Arshdeep Singh at short fine leg.
Fakhar Zaman decided to walk after edging a short and wide ball off Avesh Khan to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik for 10.
The pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed featured in a 45 run stand for the third wicket before the latter top edged a well directed bouncer from Hardik Pandya behind the stumps.
Soon after, Pandya dismissed the well set Rizwan (43) and and Khushdil Shah (2) as Pakistan lost half their side for 97.
Asif Ali departed cheaply as he holed out to Suryakumar Yadav at long-off, while trying to take on Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Shahnawaz Dahani slammed a couple of sixes before being cleaned up by a brilliant yorker by Arshdeep Singh, as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 in 19.5 overs.
For India, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/26, while Hardik Pandya claimed 3 wickets.
Chasing 148, the Men in Blue got off to a disastrous start as KL Rahul dragged at a delivery from Naseem Shah onto the stumps for a golden duck.
Virat Kohli got a reprieve in the same over when Fakhar Zaman failed to hold on to a tough chance at slip.
Rohit Sharma and Kohli added 49 runs for the second wicket before Mohammad Nawaz struck two vital blows- first by dismissing skipper Rohit and then claiming the 33 year old Kohli who hit straight down to Iftikhar Ahmed at the long off throat.
Ravindra Jadeja along with Suryakumar Yadav added 36 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter (18) was knocked over by Naseem Shah with a quick delivery.
However Jadeja and Hardik brought the innings back on track with a fifth wicket stand of 52 runs.
With 21 needed off 12 balls, Pandya slammed 14 runs off Haris Rauf in the penultimate over.
However, with seven needed off the final over, Jadeja was castled by Nawaz for a 29 ball-35, while attempting a massive slog . With six needed off three balls, Pandya (33*) finished off the game in style by slamming left arm spinner for a maximum to give India a narrow win.