The first delivery was negotiated by India captain Rohit Sharma easily with a single on the leg side. Then KL Rahul came on strike.
Naseem ran in, fast and furious, with the raw energy of a teenager looking to bowl fast. Rahul, making a comeback after an injury, counted on his experience to negate the threat but erred in reading the line of the delivery.
Naseem hurled a 142kph snorter, Rahul just dangled his bat, at an angle, neither vertical, nor horizontal. The ball took the edge and crashed into the stumps. Rahul hung his head and walked back, a first ball duck, Naseem took off, chased by his teammates, finally caught by wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan and then embraced by all his teammates and congratulated for his maiden T20I wicket.
In walked Virat Kohli, the crown of the Chase Master uneasily lying on his head, looking for form, hungry for runs, ready to face a strapping youngster who had already tasted blood.
Naseem runs in, bowls an inswinging delivery at 144kph, Kohli shoulders arms, ball goes over the stumps. Naseem charged up. Nerves of steel? Kohli comes up with a wry smile.
Fourth ball, Naseem sends down a 145kph delivery slightly outside off-stump, Kohli comes forward and goes for the drive, but the ball moves away, Kohli gets an edge and it flies just wide of second slip where Fakhar Zaman fails to hold on. Kohli gets a life, the whole of India heaves a sigh of relief.
In the second over, Naseem keeps bowling 140kph plus deliveries, constantly asking questions. But is taken off after his second over.
With India at 89/3 after 14 overs, Naseem is brought back into the attack with Suryakumar Yadav on strike.
First ball, Suryakumar is hurried up, beaten for pace by Naseem but plays a dot ball to the leg side without moving his feet.
Next delivery, Suryakumar tries to break the shackles and goes for a big shot but misses the ball from Naseem completely that uproots his off-stump. India four down with less than 100 runs on the board.
Naseem bowled the 18th over of the Indian chase, but was hit by a serious bout of cramps after the fourth delivery. With his pace clearly down by a couple of yards, Naseem was hit for a welcome six by Ravindra Jadeja off the next delivery.
Naseem’s spell read 4-0-27-2. But those 2 wickets don’t clearly show the impact the youngster had on the match. The 19-year-old is definitely one to watch out for in the future and just imagine the thrill and excitement when he bowls in tandem with Shaheen Afridi.
It’s incredible to think that Naseem made his international debut in 2019, as a 16 year old. He was the ninth youngest player ever to make a Test debut. He has already played 13 Tests and 3 ODIs, along with his maiden T20I on Sunday.
In February 2020, Naseem had become the youngest bowler to take a hat-trick in Test match cricket, in the first Test vs Bangladesh.
With a strong build overall, clearly very strong shoulders and the ability to generate raw pace, Naseem Shah is yet another reminder of the seemingly endless factory line of pace bowlers from Pakistan. The commentators were all praise for the way he bowled his heart out in the match vs India on Sunday.
The fact that he managed to get past the defences of Suryakumar Yadav, who is arguably one of the hottest batters in T20I cricket currently was an indication of just how talented this youngster is.
Going into the India vs Pakistan match, most experts and those who follow cricket knew that Naseem would get the nod for the game. And he showed just why he is being talked about as a player who has the goods to have a long career.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam praised Naseem in the post-match press conference saying, “Our only game plan was to take the game as deep as possible. Naseem Shah bowled very well and took crucial wickets for the team….It was a big match for Naseem Shah but still, he did very well.”
With India and Pakistan almost certain to play again in the Super 4 stage of the tournament, the Men in Blue will surely be drawing up some specific plans to counter this teenager, who is capable of rattling the best in the business.