Amir blitz in vain as India edge rivals

27 February,2016

RTNN News Desk: If anything that had entertained millions around the globe in the India-Pakistan battle in the Asia Cup Twenty20 yesterday was pacer Mohammad Amir’s heroics. India had almost won the game when they restricted Pakistan to just 83 runs in 17.3 overs, the side’s third lowest total in the format and the lowest against India. India chased down the moderate target in 15.3 overs with five wickets in hand but not before Amir had put up a fight.

The wicket at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium has been atypical from the first game of the tournament and yesterday was no different as both the side’s pacemen bulldozed the opposition batsmen.

Defending a lowly target was close to impossible but the Pakistan bowling attack was not short of determination, especially Amir. The game was the biggest since the 23-year old returned to the international arena and he ensured of making it a memorable one as he bowled his four overs at a stretch to dismiss three Indian top-order batsmen. Amir, who touched 150.4 km/h on the day, removed Rohit Sharma for a duck in just the second ball of the innings and before India could open the account. Two balls later, Amir struck again, this time removing Ajinkya Rahana (nought) for another leg-before decision. In his second over, Amir showed Suresh Raina the way back to the dressing room after the batsman was caught at mid-on off an out-swinger.

Amir ended with miserly bowling figures of 3/18 and was complemented well by experienced campaigner Mohammad Sami, who picked up two wickets, but as the match wore on, the Indian batsmen found run-scoring easy.

Riding on Virat Kohli’s 51-ball 49, India chased the target down to make it two wins in two matches in the tournament. But although India won the game, it was Amir who won the hearts.

Earlier, Pakistan were asked to bat first but the batsmen failed disastrously, bringing into question just how much they were actually helped by the recently concluded inaugural Pakistan Super League T20.

The Indian pacers troubled Pakistan batters the most. In-form opener Mohammad Hafeez started with a bang, hitting a picturesque boundary in the second ball off Ashish Nehra’s opening over. Nehra though had the final laugh, dismissing Hafeez in the fourth ball.

Attacking from the other end, pacer Jasprit Bumrah did not have to wait long to join the party. In his second over, Sharjeel Khan (seven) departed, leaving Pakistan in a spot of bother.

Khurram Manzoor made his T20I debut only to experience a frustrating ending. He was expected to bring the Pakistan innings into balance along with former captain Shoaib Malik but no such recovery took place as both departed cheaply.

Shahid Afridi then arrived to the crease but failed to rescue his team, much like Wahab Riaz, as Pakistan were struggling on 52 for seven in 11.2 overs. And from there, the Pakistan tail-enders fared little better as they were dismissed for a paltry total.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya was the wrecker in chief with 3/8.

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