Asia Cup 2022 | I try to keep things simple, credit goes to the team, humbly remarks Babar Azam
Pakistan scripted a thrilling run-chase to take a 5-wicket victory right at the death against arch-rivals India|
Babar Azam was quick to shift all due credit, for the 5-wicket win over India, to his team, after a well-thought-out bowling plan was followed by a brilliantly calculated run chase. He went on to congratulate the bowlers for restricting India as well as the batsmen for their important partnerships.
After suffering disappointment in their opening game of the tournament against the same opposition, Pakistan came back to form in full flow by defeating India by five wickets in their first Super Four game in Dubai on Sunday. Skipper Babar Azam won the toss and decided to bowl first, leading his bowling cohort to restrict India to a chasable 181/7 on what looked like a flat pitch with even bounce and little movement. The Men in Green's batsmen proved to be up to the task as they powered through the strong bowling lineup of India to take home the win on the second last ball of the encounter.
"I try to keep things simple. Credit goes to the team for the effort they put in," Azam said in the post-match presentation as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
India got off the bleachers in sublime fashion, with captain Rohit Sharma and his deputy KL Rahul constructing a 54-run opening stand in five overs. However, their arch-rivals responded in a fitting manner, taking crucial wickets at important times to ensure they never lose control. Even though Virat Kohli scored a brilliant 60 off 44 deliveries, no other batsman after him scored more than 16. Mohammad Nawaz was the pick of the bowlers conceding just 25 runs in his four overs while taking a wicket, thus restricting India to 181/7 even though they seemed set to cross 200 at a point in their innings.
"I thought they had an edge after the way they utilised the powerplay. But the bowlers came back to restrict them," Azam remarked.
"Our spinners and fast bowlers at the death set the stage for us."
On the batting front, the skipper failed yet again to make a significant contribution, falling victim to a soft dismissal by Ravi Bishnoi for just 16. However, fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan took the reigns to fire 71 off just 41 deliveries and was ably supported by Nawaz. The 28-year-old targetted Yuzvendra Chahal and Bishnoi to up the ante and ended up with a scintillating 42(20), putting up 73 runs in 41 deliveries for the third wicket and turning the tables in Pakistan's favour.
"I didn't fire today but Nawaz and Rizwan's partnership was outstanding," Babar commended the batsmen.
"I thought Nawaz could exceed because they had two legspinners operating so we spent them up," he revealed.
Pakistan will next take on Afghanistan on Wednesday in Sharjah in their Asia Cup campaign.