Indian bowlers, led by the three wickets of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kedhar Jadhav, were on the mark as they bowled out their arch-rivals Pakistan for 162 in the group stage match of Asia Cup 2018. Pakistan, batting first, were never in the game, as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik were the only batters who managed to make more than 30, with seven Pakistani batters getting out in single digits.
Having lost the toss, India made the best possible start with the new-ball bowlers, Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah rocking the Pakistani batsmen. Bhuvi especially reaped rewards of some good line and length, removing the two openers within the first five overs.
First to go was Imam-ul-Haq, who tried to take the attack to the opposition, but could only edge the ball to MS Dhoni. And two overs later. his opening partner and Champions Trophy 2017 final hero, Fakhar Zaman followed him back to the pavilion, getting caught by Yuzvendra Chahal while attempting a pull.
After the early dismissals, star batsmen Babar and Malik settled the proceedings for their team, playing some sensible cricket. Despite not managing to get runs at a quick pace, and getting beaten by the odd ball, the two batsmen negated the threat of the Indian pacers, and took their team forward.
Slowly but steadily, the duo were getting in their groove, and luck also favored them with Dhoni dropping Malik at a crucial point of the game. In the final ball of the 16th over, the senior Pakistani batsman tried to divert a ball of Pandya to third man, but only managed to get a faint edge. But luckily for him, Dhoni's one-handed attempt saw the ball bouncing off his glove.
More misery piled over India after the dropped catch, as Pandya was stretchered off the field a few overs later after a suspected cramp.
Just when it seemed the two batsmen were set, and would take Pakistan to a good score, India struck back, not just with one or two wickets, but with five quick scalps. In the 22nd over, Kuldeep Yadav, who had struggled in his previous two overs, bowled a beautiful googly to get rid of Babar for 47. After that dismissal, the Pakistani batsmen fell like a pack of cards.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed came and went in no time, as he was caught in the deep of Jadhav's bowling by a sensational catch by substitute fielder Manish Pandey. A couple of overs later, Ambati Rayudu produced a sensational fielding effort, managing a direct-hit to send the well-set Malik back to the pavilion for 43.
Pakistan soon lost their sixth wicket, as Asif Ali was caught behind the stumps by Dhoni to give Jadhav his second scalp. And Jadhav, slowly becoming the man with the golden arm for India, got Shadab Khan playing a false shot, allowing Dhoni to complete a quick stumping.
At 121 for 7, it only seemed a matter of time that the Men in Green will be bundled out. But Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Amir had different thoughts! The two tailenders, playing with nothing to lose attitude, struck a few meaty blows to take Pakistan past the 150-run mark. Though, their 37-run stand was broken by Jasprit Bumrah, whose slower one did the trick against Faheem.
And Pakistan were bowled out for 162, failing to play out their full quota of overs after Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah getting rid of Hasan Ali and Usman Khan in no time.