The Board of Control for Cricket in India

India go down in a last-ball thriller

25th Dec, 2021

Pakistan produced a last-ball victory over defending champions India through a nail-biting thriller at the ICC Academy Ground 2. Chasing India’s total of 237, Pakistan needed eight runs off the last over. Ahmed Khan (29n.o) smashed the last ball of the final over for a boundary to record a two-wicket win. Muhammad Shahzad orchestrated Pakistan’s chase towards the challenging target through a brilliant 81 off 105 balls studded with four boundaries and five sixes. Though the match swung like a pendulum, with Pakistan losing wickets at regular intervals, their batsmen kept their cool and took their team to the target.The exciting encounter began with Pakistan winning the toss and electing to field. Pakistan picked early wickets when their pacer Zeeshan Zameer, who had played in franchise league for Islamabad United and for Deccan Gladiators in the Abu Dhabi T10, struck thrice. He removed Indian opener Angkrish Raghuvanshi with the fourth ball of the first over by having him caught behind by wicketkeeper Haseebullah Khan for a duck. Zameer then went on to dismiss one drop Shaikh Rashid caught by Irfan Khan for 6 and also clean bowled Indian skipper Yash Dhull for a duck off successive balls from his second over.Nishant Sindhu, denying Zameer a hat-trick, settled down. Harnoor Singh, who had cracked a century in India’s first match against the UAE, began the rescue act. Together they put on 27 runs for the fourth wicket before Awais Ali had Sindhu offer wicketkeeper Haseebullah his second catch of the day after scoring eight runs.  Rajangad Bawa joined Singh and India went past the 50-run mark in the ninth over.Singh fell four short of his half century when Awais Ali struck again to have him caught by Muhammad Shehzad.  Singh’s knock of 46 came off 59 balls with six boundaries and with Bawa he put on 55 runs off 68 balls.Half of the Indian team was back in the pavilion for 96. That’s when wicketkeeper Aaradhya Yadav joined Bawa and they put on another 38 runs for the sixth wicket before Bawa got caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Maaz Ahmad Sadaqat. Bawa scored 25 runs off 59 balls.Kaushal Tambe and Yadav then swelled the total through a 50 runs partnership for the seventh wicket. Tambe hit 32 runs off 34 balls before being caught by Irfan Khan off Pakistan skipper Qasim Akram. Vicky Ostwal lasted only eight balls to score six runs before being run out.Yadav reached his 50 in 82 balls but lasted only one more ball before becoming Zameer’s fourth victim, getting caught by Muhammad Shehzad. His knock of 50 had three boundaries. Rajvardhan Hangargekar then took charge and went for his shots. He hit Ali Asfand for a six and a boundary in the 47th over and then hit Awais Ali for three boundaries in the 48th over. Zameer completed his five wicket haul by dismissing Hangargker for 33. His knock off 20 balls had five boundaries and a six and that gave India a total of 237 runs in 49 overs.Pakistan began their journey towards the target losing their opener Abdul Bangalzai for a duck.  Maaz Ahmad Sadqat and Muhammad Shehzad put on 64 runs off 86 balls for the second wicket. Raj Bava provided the breakthrough by having Sadaqat caught by Shaik Rasheed for 29.  Five runs later, Bava struck again to remove Haseebullah for 3.Pakistan skipper Qasim Akram joined Shehzad and took the score to 115 by adding 46 runs for the fourth wicket. Akram fell at his score on 22, trapped leg before by Nishant Sindhu. This was followed by a 47 runs partnership for fifth wickets between Shehzad and Irfan Khan before Shehzad got run out by Hangargker for 82.Pakistan did not waver despite losing Shehzad and every batsman that followed contributed to take the team to the target. Rizwan Mehmood hit 29 runs and added another 47 runs with Irfan Khan.In the 48th over, Raj Bawa had Irfan caught by Sindhu for 33 and giving away just seven runs. The 49th over saw Ahmed Khan hit Hangargker for a boundary and a six. With eight runs needed off the last over, Ravi Kumar had Zeeshan Zameer caught at deep cover by Hangargker for a duck with the first ball. Ahmed Khan and Ali Asfand could get only singles off the next two deliveries. Khan then took two runs off the fourth and fifth deliveries to make it two runs needed off the last delivery. He hit the last ball with enormous power to the long on boundary to ensure the win and join his teammates in the celebration in the middle.Indian skipper Yash Dhull has taken the defeat to Pakistan on his stride and said: “It was anybody’s game. In the end Pakistan won it but I believe it was a good effort by our team. Even our total was good enough with excellent contributions from our batsmen and we bowled well too. There will always be many ifs and buts in such a close match. We will learn from this defeat and come back stronger in the coming matches.”India v Pakistan at ICC Academy 2Pakistan won the toss and elected to fieldIndia: 237 all out in 49 overs (A.Yadav 50; SZ.Zameer 5-60)Pakistan: 240 for 8 off 50 overs (M.Shahzad 81; R.Bawa 4-56)Man of the Match: Muhammad Shahzad (Pakistan)