Mohammad Nawaz put in wonderful shifts with both bat and ball as he starred in Pakistan's five-wicket win over India. The all-rounder explained his bowling tactics before mapping out the batting strategy he drafted and implemented that helped him reap success in a pressure-filled encounter.
Whenever India looked to be on the front foot against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday, Mohammad Nawaz showed up like a menace to deter the Men in Blue's plans. Eventually, his contributions proved to be crucial as his team won by the skin of their teeth, managing a five-wicket triumph with just a ball to spare. For his efforts, Nawaz was deservedly awarded the man of the match trophy, adding another feather in the 28-year-old's brimming cap.
With the ball, the left-arm spinner bowled tight lengths and restricted India's free-flow of runs at important moments in the game. First, he gave away just eight runs in the fifth over of the powerplay, despite the Men in Blue scoring at a rate of 11.5 in the first four overs. He then went on to pluck the crucial wicket of in-form Suryakumar Yadav given his sensational 68*(26) against Hong Kong, before restricting an on-song Virat Kohli to return brilliant figures of 4-0-25-1.
"For a left arm spinner, it's important to stick to the basic line and length. If one or two balls turn, that puts doubt into the batters' minds. After that, I try and stick to line and length," he revealed in the post-match presentation.
In the second innings, Nawaz walked into the crease at a time India looked to be heading to victory as the Men in Green still required 119 runs off just 68 deliveries. However, he combined with Mohammad Rizwan to put up 73 runs in less than seven overs for the third wicket, contributing with a dazzling 42 runs from just 20 deliveries. His knock was laced with six boundaries and two maximums, perfectly setting up the stage for an epic run chase.
"We needed 10 runs per over when I walked in to bat so I knew I had to attack every chance I got. My mind was clear that I'd hit out at every ball in my zone. I didn't try and overplay, which you sometimes can when you're under pressure," Nawaz explained.