India Defend 119 In Low-Scoring Thriller

AP India’s Jasprit Bumrah (centre) celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match against Pakistan at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York, yesterday.


INDIA SUCCESSFULLY defended a small total to beat rivals Pakistan by six runs in a low-scoring Twenty20 World Cup thriller yesterday.

After being shocked by co-hosts United States in the Super Over at Dallas on Thursday, Pakistan recovered well to dismiss India for 119 in 19 overs on another tricky wicket at Long Island’s Nassau County International Cricket Stadium. The rain had delayed the start by around 50 minutes.

In their chase, Pakistan stuttered to 113-7 in 20 overs against a menacing pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah with match-winning figures of 3-14 in four overs, and Hardik Pandya chipped away with 2-24 as India finished strongly.

“We were looking at 140, but the bowlers did the job,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said.

“At the halfway stage, we got together and said if things can happen to us, they can happen to them, too. … Bumrah is going from strength to strength. I’m not going to talk too much about him, we want him to be in that kind of mindset till the end of this World Cup; he’s a genius with the ball.”

Pakistan appeared to be cruising at 80-3 in 14 overs, but Bumrah then had Pakistan top-scorer Mohammad Rizwan clean bowled for 31, and Iftikhar Ahmed holed out in the deep off the last ball of a terrific spell. Pakistan middle-order batters were squeezed so much in the death overs that they could hit only two boundaries off the final six overs.

Needing 18 off the final over, Naseem Shah (10 not out) smashed Arshdeep Singh for two boundaries before he left the field with tears in his eyes and was consoled by his batting partner Shaheen Shah Afridi as Pakistan lost their second successive Group A game.

India beat Ireland by eight wickets in their opening game at the same ground and led the group that also features Canada. India and the US have four points – India is top with a better net run rate.

After two successive losses, Pakistan needs to win its remaining two games against Canada and Ireland and also hopes the results of other group games go in its favour, to progress to the second stage of the tournament. Two teams advance from the group.

“We played too many dot balls and the pressure was on us,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “You can’t expect too much from tailenders. We were not up to the mark in the first six overs, we had targeted 40-45 runs, but we couldn’t capitalise properly.”

Earlier, India’s batting line-up crumbled against Shah and Haris Rauf, who both finished with 3-21, while Mohammad Amir, who came out of retirement for the World Cup, grabbed 2-23.

Amir had cautioned it wouldn’t be easy for his team’s batters at what has so far been a low-scoring T20 tournament ground.

“I think we did well as a bowling unit, but this is a decent total on this track,” Amir said during the innings break. “We need to bat well and sensibly. It’s a bit tricky. We need to start well and finish well.”

Rishabh Pant, who was dropped twice in top-scoring with 42 off 31, was one of only three India batters to cross the double-figure mark, along with Axar Patel (20) and Sharma (13).

Patel and Pant shared the best partnership of the innings with 39 runs for the third wicket before the middle order struggled.

India’s batting great Virat Kohli lasted just three balls. He struck a boundary off Shah’s first ball before he mistimed another big drive off the fast bowler and was caught in the covers.

Tricky drop-in pitches with variable bounce at the purpose-built, 34,000-capacity stadium have been in focus since the tournament began.

The ICC had to revisit the square of four drop-in pitches after the first two games, but the pitches have given little respite to the batters so far.

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