India V Pak T20 World Cup: India’s meek surrender is cause for concern

Babar Azam-led side Pak subdue Virat Kohli's brigade as they break long-running jinx of a string of losses. CHETAN SHARMA reports

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Watching the India V Pak match in the T20 World Cup end like it did, was hard to comprehend. Never having lost a World Cup game to Pakistan, the Men in Blue were firm favourites in Sunday’s match. But their rivals had other plans on the night, as the Babar Azam-led side ‘hammered’ Virat Kohli’s brigade enroute to breaking that long-running jinx.

This was also the first time in the history of World Cup matches that Pakistan thrashed Indian by ten wickets. Such a lopsided affair! And the credit goes to Mohammad Rizwan (79* off 55) and Babar Azam’s (68* off 52) wonderful display of cricket. The opening duo made a mediocre Pakistan look far superior to their arch-rivals.

When Pakistan called India to bat first, there were deliveries by Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali which left every cricket fanatic amazed. Just wow! They were quick, and moreover, wicket-to-wicket. The green brigade was pumped up from the word go, whereas the Men in Blue were pure disappointment, clueless to add on.

The Indian batters failed to read the sheer variety coming to them from the other end. No doubt balls on which KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma got out were unplayable. But that is what international cricket is all about. Not to forget, the duo had already played here in the recently concluded IPL 2021. So they knew the nature of the wicket better than Pakistan.

Virat Kohli also struggled in the initial time but he picked up the pace and stood tall while the entire Indian batting order collapsed. There were some fireworks by Rishabh Pant. However, the rest – Surya Kumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadega and an unfit Hardik Pandya – were all flops.

Talking about the Indian bowlers, they were way too predictable – no line-length, no speed, no energy. The pacers even started slower deliveries with the new ball early on, or on a regular basis that even the commentators were left looking at each other. “You’re a pacer, why not bowling it? Why are you bowling slower again and again, so predictable,” said one commentator.

This eventually gave the Pakistani openers opportunities to open their wings and punish them hard.

Another question that now erupts is, why is an unfit Pandya even in the team? Reportedly he went for a scan of his shoulder after the match. So, don’t be surprised if Pandya is rested and Shardul Thakur comes in against New Zealand. Let’s hope for the best.

Winning or losing is part of the game, but the meek surrender by the Indian team is cause for concern here. And India will need to work on it before going into the next game. There is no excuse for such poor performance. Not even losing a toss.

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