Asia Cup 2023, India vs Pakistan: Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma's solid 121-run opening stand, put India in command. IND vs PAK match to continue on reserve day.
India and Pakistan faced each other in an ODI game for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, and this time, it was a Asia Cup 2023, Super 4 game taking place at Colombo. As expected and predicted, the rain came to play spoilsport to what was shaping up to be a cracking contest between the arch-rivals.
As per the rule, the game now becomes a reserve day and will resume from when the play was halted on Sunday. India, inserted into batting first, was going strong at 147/2 in the 25th over when rain interrupted proceedings.
How did India score those runs?
Pakistan’s current bowling attack, especially the pace bowling, has been touted to be among the best in recent times, with the trio of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf all proving to be highly successful in the ODI format. They are one reason Pakistan is at the top of the rankings in this format. So, coming into this Asia Cup, Pakistan and India were the favorites, and the trio did have the better of Indian batters when these sides met a week back.
Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah ran through the Indian top order before Haris Rauf took care of the lower middle order. So, this Super 4 game was seen as a fierce test for the Indian batters since they were to face a strong Pakistani pace attack.
Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma take charge
Both the Indian openers were cautious in the earlier game against Pakistan. While Rohit Sharma was found against Shaheen in that game, Shubman Gill seemed to badly outform and looked low on confidence. They both fell for cheap scores and had a point to prove cum this important game. The duo did show signs of getting back to their best in their 10-wicket win over Nepal, chasing 147, where both these batters hit their respective half-centuries.
Put into bat on the surface where bowlers have found considerable success, the Indian openers put on a show at Colombo on Sunday. Skipper Rohit, who struggled to time the ball in the opening game, showed his true class in this game. He took the attack to Shaheen, hitting for a six in the very first over.
Then it was the turn of Gill, who smashed three boundaries of Shaheen’s 2nd over and 3rd over. This assault on the pace spearhead meant India amassed 61 runs off the first ten overs, and, in the process, Gill registered his 2nd successive fifty in just 37 balls. Rohit welcomed Shadab Khan by hitting 3 sixes & 2 boundaries in his first 2 overs as India amassed 54 in the next 5 overs.
Good signs for India
While the Indian top order has largely been prolific regarding ODI cricket, the team has found some troubles in the department thanks to the inconsistency shown in recent times. But what this game would have done is that both these batters now will have a lot of confidence going forward in both the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
After all, the openers especially dominated arguably the toughest bowling attack. Though possessing an average of over 60 in ODI cricket, Gill needs to be more consistent when he faces quality attacks like Pakistan, Australia, etc. Still, this interrupted game would have given the young opener confidence.
This knock of 58 from just 52 shows that Gill is fearless of failure and has the game to take on the best bowling attacks. Though one feels that one or both of Rohit and Gill should have scored big in his game, it is indeed refreshing to see the Indian top-order and the Indian management wants to take an aggressive going into the mega tournament.