Asia Cup 2018: Team India Report Card - How Rohit & co fared against arch-rivals Pakistan
Hindustan Times takes a look at the performance of the Men in Blue in the high-voltage clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai.
After a stuttering start in the opening game of the tournament against Hong Kong, Rohit Sharma and his boys put on a clinical show against arch-rivals Pakistan as India thrashed them by eight wickets in their second game of the Asia Cup. Starting on the wrong foot after losing the toss to Sarfraz Ahmed, Rohit showed a brilliant mind as he used the conditions to the team’s advantage to not only ring in the right changes in the bowling attack, but also put pressure on Pakistan from the word go. All in all, it was a terrific effort from the skipper and his men as India showed why they are the second ranked team in ODIs.
Hindustan Times takes a look at the performance of the Men in Blue in the high-voltage clash:
Rohit Sharma – 9.5/10 Verdict: Excellent
Standing in for Virat Kohli, he didn’t have the best of starts to the tournament against Hong Kong as the minnows almost managed to chase down India’s total of 285. But on the big day, Rohit showed why he is so highly rated in the IPL as a captain. Ringing in the right changes and setting the perfect field for each and every batsman, the captain showed that he had done his homework well. Later, chasing a low total, it was important that India start well and the hit-man didn’t disappoint even as his past record showed his vulnerability against the left-arm pacers in the Pakistan line-up. Leading by example, Rohit hit a fluent half-century to placate any fears of a Pakistan comeback.
Shikhar Dhawan - 7/10 Verdict: Good
Following on from his 14th ODI century against Hong Kong on Tuesday, he carried his form into the crunch game to score 46. While one can blame him for throwing his wicket away and not seeing the team home, the start he gave with Rohit Sharma for the first wicket must be praised as chasing down low totals can get tricky. But Dhawan must not get complacent here and should look to build on the form he has found. He is an integral cog of the Indian set-up when it comes to white-ball cricket.
MS Dhoni – 5/10 Verdict: Average
A dropped chance that should have been taken off Hardik Pandya’s bowling would be the only mistake the experienced campaigner made in the high-voltage clash. While he was once again seen guiding the bowlers from time to time, there wasn’t much that he was required to do. Apart from the dropped chance, MSD was his usual self behind the stumps, took two good catches and had a stumping to his name.
Ambati Rayudu – 6/10 Verdict: Good
Coming into bat with the game as good as won, Rayudu ensured that there were no further hiccups and that the win could have the tag of ‘thrashed’. Rayudu just had to steer the ship home which he did well. After he was denied a place in the team because of a failed Yo-Yo test, Rayudu has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. Interestingly, he also bowled the one ball when Hardik Pandya got injured and didn’t concede a run.
Dinesh Karthik – 6/10 Verdict: Good
Just like Rayudu, the game was set when he came into bat and he made sure that Pakistan had nothing to celebrate with a good little innings. With severe competition in the side for places and the 2019 World Cup round the corner, it’s important for Karthik to keep performing with the bat. He was good in the field too and took a catch.
Kedar Jadhav – 9.5/10 Verdict: Excellent
No more the surprise package with the ball, Kedar has time and again shown the knack to pick wickets and in the top half of the innings. Kedar bowled brilliantly on the big night and broke the back of the Pakistan batting with three wickets in the nine overs he bowled. His unique style of bowling is a big asset for the team and his spell helped reduce Pakistan from 96/3 at one stage to 121/7.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 10/10 Verdict: Excellent
What a comeback! After a jittery start against Hong Kong, Bhuvneshwar was back to his best against Pakistan. With Rohit losing the toss and Pakistan looking to take advantage early on, Bhuvi ensured he brought his best on the day. His immaculate line and length gave Pakistan two early jolts as he removed both openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq to derail the innings at the top. He also castled Hasan Ali at the fag end of the innings, but by then, it was all about India holding their nerves to clean up the tail quickly. Man of the Match and much deserved.
Jasprit Bumrah – 8/10 Verdict: Very Good
Rested against Hong Kong, after a long tour of England, Bumrah once again showed why he is the X-factor in this team. From a mediocre bowling attack against minnows Hong Kong, the Indian unit suddenly looked world-class against Pakistan and he deserves credit for building pressure from the word go. Complemented Bhuvi well at the start of the innings and did not allow the Pakistan tail to wag.
Kuldeep Yadav – 7/10 Verdict: Good
Came to bowl when Pakistan had two set batsmen at the crease, Babar and Shoaib, but the youngster held his nerve and gave India the all important breakthrough with the wicket of Babar Azam. It opened the flood gates and there was no looking back for the Indians after that. While he didn’t have a bag of wickets to show for his efforts, he definitely kept the batsmen under pressure with his immaculate line and length.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 5/10 Verdict: Average
Not his best day, but not his worst either. Just like his spin-twin, Chahal too bowled in the middle overs when Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam were playing freely and did reasonably well. Needs to work on his discipline, bowling a no-ball for a spinner is criminal. While some can say it was a marginal call, there is no reason why a spinner will even marginally overstep.
Hardik Pandya – N/A
(Injured himself while bowling and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. As per the latest injury update, Pandya has an acute lower back injury. The medical team is assessing him.)
Note: Manish Pandey deserves a special mention as he not only took a remarkable catch at the mid-wicket boundary to dismiss Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, but also made some brilliant stops after coming in as substitute after Pandya’s injury.
First Published: Sep 20, 2018 08:41:50