Naseem Shah was inconsolable, Rohit Sharma, and Shaheen Afridi’s expressions could not wipe away tears, and India defeated Pakistan 7-1

india pakistan T20 2024
India Pakistan T20 2024

Pakistan came close to losing to India in the World Cup but the result was what everyone expected. Rohit Sharma and his men finished on top of Group A after India defended a mammoth total of 119 to win by six runs in a thrilling low-scoring match at the Nassau County Stadium in New York on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi (right) consoles batting partner Naseem Shah as he leaves the field after the loss in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan (AP)

Naseem Shah, who was handed the impossible task of scoring 16 runs off the last 3 balls, batted with all his might, but it just couldn’t happen. After a four-and-a-slice boundary off the final ball of the match bowled by Arshdeep Singh, the game turned in India’s favor with 8 runs off 1 ball. And once the left-arm bowler bowled the perfect yorker, guaranteeing India’s win, the wave of emotions became too much for Naseem to bear. Two years after he led his team to victory by hitting consecutive sixes against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, Naseem couldn’t complete his task, and tears rolled down his cheeks in disappointment.

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Shaheen Afridi took Naseem in his arms, and Indian captain Rohit patted him on the back, but Naseem seemed to be trying to hide it. But ultimately, only one team reigned supreme, and last night it was Rohit’s Team India.

Everything looked to be going in Pakistan’s favour at 2-6 at halftime as India wrapped up their innings for 119 runs. They were 89/3 at halftime, and Rishabh Pant looked set, but a brilliant comeback from the Pakistan bowlers saw India crumble for 7/30, with Naseem and Haris Rauf taking three wickets each and Mohammad Amir taking 2/23. However, India, after some ups and downs in the second innings, successfully defended the lowest target in T20 World Cup history thanks to Jasprit Bumrah’s magic.

Watch Naseem crying below:

The Indian pacer, who won the Player of the Match against Ireland, won another such award for bowling a spell for the ages. Bumrah’s 3/14 made the main difference for India, as he brought the Pakistan bowling to a halt by dismissing Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed. A target of 120 was not a tough one. Yes, the outfield was heavy, but with the sun beating down, the moisture in the pitch that favoured the Pakistani bowlers was drying up fast. A run-a-ball target is something you can assume the batting side can chase, right?

Buzzer! Wrong, said Bumrah, who gave India their first breakthrough through the wicket of skipper Babar, and then by dismissing Rizwan, who had batted for a painful 31 off 44 balls. Pakistan played 59 dot balls, with Hardik Pandya’s 2/24 and the invaluable 16 runs added by Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep with the bat proving to be decisive. Hardik picked up two crucial wickets by dismissing Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan, allowing India to slowly dismantle Pakistan’s batting and get back into the game.

How India imposed the choke

Fakhar made his intentions known with a six and a four, and Imad Wasim struggled to connect bat with ball. Axar’s three consecutive dots to Imad in the 16th over was the beginning of the end for Pakistan. Bumrah turned the tables on the last ball, hitting Iftikhar to the top boundary off a full-toss. Arshdeep and Suryakumar Yadav almost pulled off the 2004 Kaif-Badani moment, but no harm was done.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that India’s win is as big as Melbourne 2022. At one point, victory predictors had predicted 92 per cent in Pakistan’s favour and 8 per cent in India’s favour, especially considering how the first innings played out. India were on course to score at least 160 runs despite the nature of the pitch. Rohit and Virat Kohli got out cheaply, but Pant’s 42 off 31 balls and Axar Patel’s 20 off 18 balls paved the way for victory, but Pakistan’s pacers must be given credit for exploiting the conditions brilliantly. If only their batsmen could emulate even half the effort of their bowlers.

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