India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2010: Harbhajan Singh shines with the bat, takes Pakistan to the cleaners in fascinating match.
Brief Score: India 271 for 7 (Gambhir 83, Dhoni 56) beat Pakistan 267 (Butt 74, Kamran 51, Praveen 3-53) by three wickets
The 2010 Asia Cup was a short tournament with four teams – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – facing each other once in the group stage before the top two teams went head to head in the final.
Ahead of the 2023 Asia Cup, let’s go down memory lane to recollect a few interesting and memorable moments from the match.
A match that has the ingredients of a perfect masala Bollywood movie
This league match was one of the most thrilling matches involving India and Pakistan across formats. The momentum swung wildly in either directions in both innings. There were verbal duels, umpires had a tough day keeping things calm, extraordinary performances and display of passion, but in the end, the match was sealed with a six from none other than Harbhajan Singh on the penultimate ball.
The celebrations which followed were dramatic to the T, with the Turbanator giving a loud roar after hitting the match-winning six and almost glaring in the direction of Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, while Indian players sprinted to the middle to hug their hero. The Rawalpindi Express, wearing a dejected-yet-angry look, was also seen gesturing towards Singh to get back in the pavilion.
Salman Butt's innings
Earlier, the Pakistan opener Salman Butt held the innings together and as long as he was in the middle, Pakistan was hopeful of getting close to 280 or more. But the collapse of 3 wickets for just 15 runs, including the wicket of Butt, resulted in Pakistan losing the momentum. They had to settle for significantly less, but Butt’s knock was the highlight of Pakistan’s innings.
He first posted an opening stand of 71 runs with Imran Farhat, and then joined hands with Shoaib Malik to stitch a partnership of 73 runs for the second wicket before he was run-out for 74. His knock of 74 runs off 85 balls with 9 fours had kept Pakistan in the game.
Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni's contribution with the bat
Chasing a target of 268 against the fiery pace bowling unit of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Amir, and Abdul Razzaq, and the spin trio of Saeed Ajmal, Shahib Afrid and Shoaib Malik was easier said than done. India was batting at less than five runs per over when captain MS Dhoni joined opener Gautam Gambhir in the middle. The two kept things under control with their clever batting where they kept the scoreboard ticking with hard-run singles and twos while punishing the odd loose balls. Their partnership of 98 runs for the third wicket laid the platform for the chase. Although there were a few hiccups in the end, this partnership for the third wicket ensured India did cross the finish line, with Bhajji giving the finishing touches. Gambhir made 83, while Dhoni hit 56 in the chase.
Bhajji's double sixes
When Bhajji came out to bat in the middle, India needed 49 runs in 29 balls, and the match seemed to be in Pakistan’s grasp. While Bhajji’s partner Suresh Raina took on the spinners as he struggled against the pace and short-length balls from Akhtar, Bhajji took it upon himself to score against the Rawalpindi Express.
Bhajji smacked the second ball he faced from Akhtar for a six over the long on boundary to bring down the equation to 30 runs from 22 balls. Akhtar then got his line and length right to concede just 1 run from the opposition’s bat in four legitimate balls. After the end of the penultimate over, Bhajji and Akhtar got into a verbal duel after the former failed to put bat to ball on the last two deliveries. This fiery exchange also fired up Bhajji, and with 3 runs needed off 2 balls, Bhajji pulled a short ball for a six off Amir’s bowling to take India to a memorable win.
Asia Cup 2023 will commence from August 30 and India will face Pakistan on September 2.