— Rain spoils thriller between archrivals following heroics by Pakistani pacers

— For India, Kishan and Padya resisted to put a decent total for India

ISLAMABAD: Rain played spoilsport, dampening the high hopes of fans to see a thriller between Pakistan and India in the much anticipated Asia Cup 2023 match on Saturday.

However, Green shirts qualified for Super 4s — despite not having to bat as their run chase was called off due to persistent showers — after a successful day in the field.

Rain returned for the third time to Kandy during the innings break at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium.

Before that, during the Indian innings, much to the disappointment of cricket fans rain played spoilsport twice.

The Men in Blue had handed a 267-run target to Pakistan after they opted to bat first at the toss. However, the Indian team was dismissed for 266 as the bowlers brought the national side back into the game.

 

At the start of the innings, star seamers of Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, ripped through the Indian top-order after Rohit Sharma decided to bat first. However, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya keep the scorecard ticking for their side.

After Pakistani pacers dismissed four key batters early, the Indian middle-order fought back and managed to score above 130 by the 27th over.

 

However, the Pakistan pacers struck again and gave three consecutive blows to the Men in Green in the latter part of the innings. The lethal bowling spell brought the team back into the game at a crucial point.

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf each picked three wickets, while the last two dismissals Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav came off Naseem Shah’s bowling.

Disappointing end

Former PCB chief Najam Sethi took to social media platform X to express disappointment over the washed out match, blaming the BCCI for the lost game.

“How disappointing! Rain mars the greatest contest in cricket. But this was forecast. As PCB Chair, I urged the ACC to play in UAE but poor excuses were made to accommodate Sri Lanka. Too hot in Dubai, they said. But it was as hot when the Asia Cup was played there last time in Sep 2022 or when IPL was played there in April 2014 and Sep 2020. Politics over sport. Unforgivable!,” he wrote.

 

Despite the draw, Pakistan have qualified for the Super 4s stage as Pakistan began their Asia Cup 2023 campaign on a high note with a massive 238-run win over Nepal on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, this was India’s first match in the tournament making the clash with Nepal a must win.

Considering the format of the Asia Cup it is likely that we may see another between Pakistan and India soon.

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E-Paper 15th of April 2024