Asia Cup 2014 – Review of India’s match against Pakistan

Any match involving the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams is billed as an Asian version of the Ashes. The shared past and the animosity-filled present means that these contests always generate a lot of excitement among the common masses in both the countries. The quality of cricket between both the teams has also been of a rather high standard with a few exceptions here and there. The 6th game of Asia Cup 2014 was no exception either with Pakistan trumping India after yet another exciting match.

Form: Both the teams had come into the game in patchy form, having lost their matches against Sri Lanka and won against Bangladesh. Both of them needed to win the game in order to have a realistic chance to go through to the next round. In the end Pakistan was able to achieve the win at the expense of India, who now must defeat Afghanistan convincingly and look for other results to go its way. Still, it must be said that its chances of appearing at the final are rather slim.

Team composition: Pakistan made one change to the eleven that had won the game against Afghanistan by bringing in Mohammad Talha for his extra pace. India, meanwhile, had lost to Sri Lanka and thus was forced to bring in legspinner Amit Mishra in place of Stuart Binny. The slow wicket may have also prompted them to go with this decision.

Batting: Once again India lost the toss and was forced to bat first by Pakistan. In the last few matches India have been unsuccessful in defending totals and it seems that now opposition captains have understood that. The trend looks to be disturbing for all its fans but it looks unlikely that things will change anytime soon given the inexperience in majority of the team.

India batted first and got 249, which was well below par for a team with its bowling capability. Rohit, Rayudu and Jadeja got a 50 each but were unable to construct a big total in the absence of support from other members of the batting line-up. Pakistan, on the other hand, was guided by Man of Match Mohammed Hafeez. Ahmed Shehzad and Sohaib Maqsood also played decent hands but in the end Shahid Afridi launched some telling blows to win the contest for Pakistan.

Bowling: As the result would suggest Pakistan performed far better than India in this match. Ajmal was clearly the best bowler for the victorious side with 3 scalps for 40 from his 10 overs but he was well supported by Hafeez and quickie Talha, who played his first game for Pakistan in the ODI format. India on the other hand suffered due to lack of sufficient runs. Ashwin tried hard with 3 or 44 from 9.4 overs and Bhuvneshwar and Amit Mishra got a couple each.

It must be said that in both the matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan the bowlers have taken the games to the last over in spite of the paucity of runs. So, perhaps instead of putting them under the scanner time and again it may be worthwhile to see what the batsmen are doing and analyze their failures.