India vs Pakistan Analysis- Kohli is king; Pakistan get team selection wrong

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Image Courtesy: © Twitter - ICC

India vs Pakistan Analysis- Kohli is king; Pakistan get team selection wrong

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Debarshee Mitra


India beat Pakistan by six wickets in what was eventually a one-sided game. In a match threatened by rain for the best part of the day, Pakistan handed India the initiative after going in with four quicks as Dhoni chose to field. Kohli was masterly yet again, guiding India home for an easy win.

The Rain factor & hence the toss

The Eden Gardens was under covers for the entire day and with showers threatening to spoil the party. The covers came off only a couple of hours before the game started. A result of which saw a lot of moisture not only on the pitch but also in the outfield and that made the toss crucial. The moisture in the pitch made it heavy and meant the ball won’t reach the bat comfortably in the initial overs. Mahendra Singh Dhoni knew that (as did Shahid Afridi as he later confessed) and chose to bowl after winning the crucial toss. A quarter of the match was won right there for the Indians.

How Pakistan lost it with the team selection

Pakistan clearly read the pitch and ground conditions wrong. The winning combination against Bangladesh was changed as Pakistan included veteran Mohammed Sami in their lineup, thus keeping out spinner Imad Wasim. Although Mohammed Sami went on to pick a couple of wickets to send back Dhawan and Raina on successive deliveries, his contribution didn’t have a long lasting impact. Sami’s next over cost 13 runs but in the bigger picture it robbed Pakistan of four overs of spin, which could easily have been the difference in the match. Not to mention Wahab and Irfan bled runs.

Overs 14, 15 and 18

At the end of 13 overs, Pakistan had 67 runs. By the end of the 15th they had 95 on board and the game seemed to have turned in favour of the Pakis. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah conceded for fun and gave Pakistan the launchpad they desperately needed to post a huge total. But Dhoni’s belief in his youngsters didn’t dwindle one bit as he brought on Bumrah for the final over despite ace spinner Ashwin having one over left. Bumrah didn’t disappoint his captain, conceding only 7 runs and restricting Pakistan to below 120, giving India the much needed psychological chase as they came out to bat.

(Read what will happen if the India & Pakistan Legends XI clash in a fantasy 2016 T20 WC match)

Singles, the one Wahab Riaz over & the grand failure of Malik

Despite missing a trick with the team selection, Afridi still had the opportunity to make the 8-over-spinner quota they had in their armoury count but failed. After two overs of spin by himself and Shoaib Malik, Afridi introduced Wahab Riaz into the attack in the 9th over and the pacer conceded a boundary first ball, releasing all the pressure built by Afridi and Malik. Even in those two overs, Pakistan leaked singles and twos without ever really handicapping the Indian batsmen and making them desperate for the runs. So when Wahab came into bowl he was greeted with a boundary first ball allowing both Yuvraj and Kohli to settle a little more, setting the tone for what was to come. Next over Shoaib Malik was dispatched for 14 runs and that signalled the beginning of the end for the men in green.

Where was Amir?

In what could be counted as Afridi’s third failure of the evening, where on earth was Mohammed Amir? The 24-year-old conceded three runs in his first spell and by the time he came on for his second India required only 28 off 30 balls and a set Virat Kohli at the crease. Some might defend Afridi saying he was saving him for the death but it became evident long back that wickets and only wickets could guide Pakistan to a win here and not reintroducing Amir into the attack only adds on to what was a bad day at the office for captain Afridi.

The massive Kohli factor

Here is a fun stat that Star Sports threw up during the telecast. Virat Kohli middled 92% of the balls he faced. Not scored of, but middled. This was in the 14th over. Kohli went on to middle a few more as he took India home. So, if it was not established already, Kohli is one of the best finishers in the game right now and India cashed in on the Kohli trump card like they so often have in the last 2-3 years.

In fact, Indian fans must be wondering if the outcome in the first game might have been different had Kohli stayed on for longer against New Zealand. With an average of 83+ while chasing in T20 internationals, Kohli’s temperament saw India home after they reeled at 23/3 in the fifth over of the innings. With wickets tumbling around him the Delhi born batsman stayed focussed and built the innings with Yuvraj Singh, who deserves immense credit for being Kohli’s partner in crime. The pair added 61 runs in 44 balls before Yuvraj perished, but the match was already won by then.

(Take a look at our player ratings for the India-Pakistan match)

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