Asia Cup has been one of the most prolific cricket occasions where India Vs. Pakistan rivalry had been celebrated with emphatic anticipation, and the fans weren’t stripped of the fun and thrill they wanted.
India beat Pakistan by 5 wickets as they met for the first time in the 4th match of the Asia Cup in 2016 at Mirpur National Stadium, Dhaka. Pakistan were all out for just 83 in 17.3 overs, and India clinched the victory in 15.3 overs with 5 wickets in hand.
Today, we’ll share a match analysis of this titanian clash from the vault that took place long ago. So, relax and read on to take on a journey to the cricket memory lane.
The Most Anticipated T20 Match of the Tournament: India Vs. Pakistan!
Back on February 27, 2016, India met their arch-rival Pakistan yet again in an Asia Cup tournament in Mirpur Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka.
These two contenders would meet for the 14th time in the Asia Cup and no wonder the stakes were as ever high! The gallery was swarming with local and international fans, from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.
But it was the Indian team who had the last laugh by beating Pakistan by 5 wickets. Nonetheless, as comprehensive as it might sound, it wasn’t a merry win for the men in blue at all.
Even after a devastating batting display, the Pakistani bowling armory tried and tested the Indian batting top order. And it wasn’t until 15.3 overs that India sealed the victory with a smashing boundary by Thala, the then skipper, Dhoni, through the cover region.
Virat Kohli Saved the Day
Indeed, it was a well-matured Virat Kohli who won the battle for India with his sensible and classy 49, hitting 7 marvelous boundaries all over the Mirpur ground— the same guy who scored a blistering 183-run knock just four years back against Pakistan in the same Asia Cup ODI tournament.
India was off to a shaky start after losing Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as a firing Mohammad Amir gunned them down for ducks in his first over. None of these two looked comfy facing Amir’s explosive deliveries, and Amir released them off the terror very shortly.
But Virat Kohli who was spared a surefire LBW off Amir’s in-swinging delivery when he was on 5, safely managed to navigate through Pak bowling to put India in a strong position. He was taken off by Mohammad Sami in the 15th over when India was just 7 runs away from the awaited victory.
A Panicked Pakistani Batting Tale
After winning the toss, Captain Dhoni decided to bowl first as the green-pinched pitch promised some sheer movement of the ball. His decision paid off as the strike bowler Ashish Nehra trapped the experienced Mohammad Hafiz in his 4th delivery. Nehrar’s pace, swing, and bounce made Hafiz play an upper cut. Hafiz eyed the third-man area but to no avail. He was edged and caught behind. At that time, Pakistan was 4 for 1.
Khurram Manjoor came in and joined the other opener Sharjeel Khan to add 18 runs to the scoreboard. It seemed these two were restoring the innings until 3.2 overs. The young and promising Bumrah put in an excellent outside-off delivery that slightly swung away from the left-handed Sharjeel.
Sharjeel slashed but got caught on the second slip at Rahane’s hands.
At 22 for 2, the experienced Shoaib Malik chimed in on whom the Pak team was having high hopes. However, a miscommunication between him and Khurram led to an unfortunate runout.
Malik drove one delivery to the short cover where Virat scooped it up. Malik almost instantly called “NOOOO” to his partner Khurram who blankly ran halfway through the pitch. Khurram rushed back, but in the process, his bat flew off. Virat aimed the stumps at the non-striker’s end and hit a bull’s eye! Pak became 32 for 3 in 5.4 overs. Khurram was out for 10, the only batsman to register a double figure until that stage of the game.
The rest of the Pakistan batting wasn’t so colorful. They’re never able to rebuild the innings. The rest of the batsmen came and went without disturbing the scoreboard too much.
Veterans like Shaheed Afridi (Skipper), Shoaib Malik, and Umar Akmal made their way back to the dugout leaving their team high and dry. Only Sarfaraz Ahmed could make 25 off 24 with 3 boundaries in his name. Ravindra Jadeja picked him up in the 16th over, leaving Pakistan only 70 for 8.
Ultimately, India packed them up for 83 runs in 17.3 overs. Thanks to the 15 runs extra (11 wides, 4 leg-byes) that helped Pakistan cross the 80-run mark.
The Indian bowlers were bent to unsettle Pak batters in regular intervals, and Pak batters never seemed to show any resistance and get away.
India Attains a Frivolous Victory
You might get shocked at this, but even India winning this match with almost 5 overs to spare wasn’t something the fans were expecting— especially with such a brand batting lineup.
It was merely a relief in the end that they managed to get away with this thanks to Virat Kohli holding it together from one end.
Imagine India losing their 3 Rs (Rohit, Rahane, Raina) only for 8 runs on the board! All credit to Amir’s devastating bowling. Indian fans were relieved seeing Amir complete his quota of 4 overs straight.
From that point on, Virat tackled Pak bowlers diligently, hitting boundaries, rotating strikes, and seeing the deliveries off to the keeper’s hand. The veteran Yuvraj Singh clung to the 68-run partnership with Virat with his 14 off 32 balls (Not Out), aiding Virat’s stride toward victory.
India was 76 in 14 overs when Mohammad Sami trapped Virat with an inswinging delivery on his front leg. Sami’s appeal was responded to with a raised finger from the umpire, and Virat departed for a match-winning 49 off 51.
Not much was left to do for the Indian batters who made their way home in the 16th over. Captain Dhoni and Yuvraj left the ground smiling, ensuring their 6th win against Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
In a Nutshell
Eventually, the India vs. Pakistan 2016 Asia Cup match was the sensational rivalry that met the fans’ expectation of a high voltage T20 match between their two loved nations.
Both teams gave their best, however, the Pak team ended well short of the skills required to pull off a thrilling victory. Their infamous silly runout spree yet again haunted their batting, and they just lost their way down the middle order.
India indeed faced some real adversaries due to Mohammad Amir’s baffling bowling. But for a batting powerhouse like India’s, 83 was never a score to fight till the last over, let alone Pakistan defend it.