There are defeats and then there are defeats of the kind that India faced against Pakistan on Sunday night in Dubai. If we keep the hype and jingoism aside, this was a match between two cricket teams and one was far better than the other on the given day. But an India-Pakistan encounter is not just any other cricket match. The result of this battle leaves an impact on the protagonists and Virat Kohli would hope that Pakistan’s clinical 10-wicket demolition job would wake his team up. India’s strengths in white-ball cricket often mask its numerous deficiencies, but on Sunday Pakistan showed why India could struggle in this tournament.
The batsmen found the going tough against raw pace and movement off the wicket and the bowlers had absolutely no control after the dew came in as Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan tore them apart. The toss was key without any doubt as the wicket played differently in the two innings, but that is an eventuality all sides playing an evening game will have to keep in mind in this tournament. India’s bowling is clearly its weak link and Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri must go back to the drawing board and see what changes need to be made.
Here is our report card of Team India’s performance against Pakistan
1) Rohit Sharma (0) – 0/10
It was a match to forget for India’s vice-captain as he was done in by an unplayable delivery. You really can’t do much when a bowler bowls a Yorker with the pace and precision that Shaheen Afridi did to get Rohit out. India would hope Rohit gets going soon.
2) KL Rahul (0) – 0/10
KL Rahul too was dismissed by a scorcher of a delivery from Shaheen Afridi. Rahul committed on the front foot way too early and then couldn’t deal with the movement that saw the ball castle his stumps. Perhaps Rohit’s dismissal should have been a signal about what not to do against Afridi. Rahul has come into the tournament on the back of some big runs in IPL and he must get back to run scoring form soon.
3) Virat Kohli (57) – 7/10
Virat Kohli showcased class and great game sense. He absorbed all the pressure at the top of the order with wickets falling around him to stitch an important partnership with Rishabh Pant, which gave India a chance to post a decent total on the board. His 57 runs may not have been the most fluent that he has scored, but they were timely and Kohli’s form will be crucial going forward in the tournament.
4) Suryakumar Yadav (11) – 2/10
Suryakumar Yadav showed glimpses of his ability in this format but couldn’t leave an impact on the match. His form has been patchy coming into the tournament but he is one of the few T20 specialists in the Indian batting order and he needs to play cameos if not the big knocks to give the innings the impetus it needs.
5) Rishabh Pant (39) – 6/10
Pant showed great maturity as joined hands with Kohli to get India’s innings back on track. He played sensibly to get himself in first and then hit the big shots. He could have perhaps waiting till the end of the 15th over to go on the all out attack but you can’t fault him for trying. He knows only one way to bat and had it come off India would have scored in excess of 170 and made a match out of it.
6) Hardik Pandya (11) – 2/10
Pakistan bowlers had their game plan spot on for Pandya as they didn’t bowl anything in his arc. Pandya thrives on batting deep in his crease and then going big from the back foot. But the line and length to him was superb. He had to be taken for scans after being hit on the shoulder. If fit for the next game, he needs to figure out a plan B.
7) Ravindra Jadeja (13 & 0/28) – 5/10
Jadeja bowled four fairly economical overs at a time when Babar and Rizwan were in complete control. He looked in control while batting too but Pakistan’s bowling was just too good and he couldn’t get the big shots in. Can’t fault him much as he played his role to the best of what he could.
8) Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/25) – 4/10
Bhuvneshwar too hasn’t been in the best of form ahead of this tournament and it showed in the match. He hardly created any wicket-taking opportunities.
9) Mohammed Shami (0/43) – 0/10
There were a lot of expectations from Shami 2.0 but he was completely deflated by the Pakistani openers. He bowled without much control and discipline and could lose his place to Shardul Thakur in the next match.
10) Varun Chakaravarthy (0/33) – 1/10
It is not easy to bowl for spinners when the dew comes down but Chakaravarthy looked quite out of sorts. He never quite got the length that he needed to bowl to trouble the batsmen, bowling a tad too short. There was no mystery in his bowling and Ashwin is waiting in the wings.
11) Jasprit Bumrah (0/22) – 4/10
Bumrah did what he does even on days when nothing is happening for him. He bowled his heart out and gave his everything, but it just wasn’t to be. With 17 needed of the last 18 balls, everyone thought Kohli would hand him the ball to tighten the screws, but the captain perhaps hoped he would get his trump card to bowl the 19th over.