Asia Cup 2022, India vs Pakistan: Battle for bragging rights resumes in storied rivalry | Cricket News – Times of India
One hundred and fifty two for no loss in 17. 5 overs. Certain numbers hurt you like no other if you are an Indian cricket tragic. It was Pakistan’s uncharacteristically composed riposte to an underwhelming 151/7 by India in the 2021 T20 World Cup opener in Dubai’s Ring of Fire. Heavy dew during their chase was an able ally for the men in green as they beat their dispirited and stunned rivals.
Skipper Babar Azam and deputy Mohammed Rizwan underlined the domination that was triggered by Shaheen Shah Afridi’s quick, lethal twin strikes that consumed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
It had generous shades of what Mohammed Amir, another mesmerizing talent from the ever-fertile fast-bowling stables across the border, had achieved at the Oval in the summer of 2017 in the Champions Trophy final. He dismantled a fractured team, reeling from the effects of a well-publicised discord between skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble.
India were subject to repeated bullying by Pakistan in the ODI format, especially in Sharjah right through the 1980s and 90s after that traumatic last-ball six struck by Javed Miandad off Chetan Sharma in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final. But to their credit, India subsequently recovered substantially to dominate their rivals in world events.
They strung together several antidotes to erase the painful memories of Miandad’s sweaty swat over square leg and his cathartic sprint to his weeping colleagues in the pavilion as No. 11 Tauseef Ahmed chased him deliriously, arms pumping and bat raised.
There were other special moments. Ajay Jadeja’s stunning cameo and his assault on the speedy Waqar Younis in Bengaluru in 1996. Ganguly’s solo efforts in Toronto in 1997 with bat and ball. Rajesh Chauhan’s muscular six off Saqlain Mushtaq in 1997, in a final-over heist that silenced a raucous crowd of over 35,000 in Karachi.
India’s history at Asia Cup
Hrishikesh Kantikar’s chaotic slog off Saqlain in the dusk and dust of Dhaka in the 1998 Independence Cup final. Venkatesh Prasad’s skillful five-for at Old Trafford in Manchester in the 1999 World Cup Super Six clash and yes, Sachin Tendulkar‘s upper cut off Shoaib Akhtar that sailed over point during a Centurion classic in the 2003 World Cup. That one shot meant closure to years of pain.
Add Sreesanth’s grab to pouch Misbah-ul-Haq off Joginder Sharma in the inaugural T20 World Cup final in Johannesburg in 2007, and you know it was India that was bossing the rivalry now. Defeats in the 2009 Champions Trophy in Centurion and 2014 Asia Cup in Mirpur can at best be labelled aberrations.
Armed with an array of dazzling stroke-makers, who were all technically proficient and guided by Tendulkar, India seemed to have an answer to every question that Pakistan posed through their potent bowling line-up.
The fact that India’s pace bowling stocks also rose with quality pacers from mofussil towns breaking through and Pakistan’s inability to produce enough champion batsmen to replace the likes of Inzamam, Younis Khan and Saeed Anwar, who could attack and defend, seemed to tilt the scales decisively in India’s favour.
But when teams don’t play each other often, it is the last contest between them that one remembers. And it is here that Pakistan may have an edge for Sunday’s contest. Especially, as it is being held at the same venue of their last meeting.
How India and Pakistan have fared at the Asia Cup
Also, in UAE, in T20Is, Pakistan are almost impregnable. India will comfort themselves reading the 7-2 statistical advantage that they enjoy in the instant format over their storied rivals. But another stat should be enough to puncture any air of complacency.
Of the last 17 T20Is in UAE, Pakistan have lost only one. The T20 WC semifinal to Australia. Indian players too won’t feel like aliens in the middle east, as most of their star players have enough experience of playing in the IPL here.
Rohit and Co. would want to land a decisive blow to erase the memories of another Sunday 10 months ago. A win will help them gain a mental advantage for a bigger battle to be held on another Sunday, two months later, 11,640km south east of Dubai, in Melbourne.