India trounces Pakistan by 6 runs to almost eliminate their arch-rivals from the 2024 T20 World Cup

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India continued their winning run in the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup by defeating Pakistan by 6 runs on Sunday at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam won the toss and decided to field first on a damp pitch which was showing signs of cracking up as the rain persisted early on Sunday morning.

After several delays brought about by the rain, former Pakistan skipper Shaheen Afridi started the attack for the Men in Green as Rohit Sharma procured two runs from the first ball which was bowled on his pads. A pick-up shot from the Indian skipper on the third ball of the over gifted India six more runs and their first maximum of the innings.

Another half-hour delay was induced by the precipitation in New York as Virat Kohli finally took strike for the first time at 9:30 pm IST and smacked a boundary against Naseem Shah with a vintage cover drive.

The young fast bowler took revenge on the former Indian skipper almost immediately as Kohli was caught by Usman Khan on the third ball of the over bringing Rishabh Pant to the pitch. Pant was allowed to rotate the strike courtesy of a wild wide ball and Rohit glanced the ball to the boundary.

Skipper Sharma brought out another pick-up shot against Afridi but the T20 World Cup veteran was caught in the deep by Haris Rauf ending Rohit’s innings at a score of 13 runs off 12 balls.

Axar Patel’s promotion to No.4 was the perfect move for India as Mohammad Amir came in to bowl the fourth over and troubled the all-rounder but Patel paid back the management’s trust by smashing a four and a six off the first two balls of the fifth over bowled by Afridi.

On the first ball of the sixth over, Amir was moving the ball like a magician moves his wand and produced an outside edge off Pant’s blade which ran away to the fence. Usman dropped Pant’s catch on the next ball as the southpaw skied the ball towards the point region which presented a half-chance but Usman could only get his fingers to the ball before grassing it. 

Another outside edge off Pant’s bat gifted him four more runs later in the over helping India reach the 50-run mark within the powerplay overs. 

Spin was introduced after the powerplay overs and Iftikhar Ahmed was the surprising choice to bowl the 7th over but the batting all-rounder did well enough to concede 3 runs in his first 5 balls before conceding a four on the last ball of the over.

Naseem’s re-introduction into the attack worked wonders for Babar Azam’s men as Axar was castled by the young fast bowler on a score of 20 runs off 18 balls. Suryakumar Yadav then walked out to bat and got off the mark with a straight drive that ran off to the fence in a hurry.

Imad Wasim was the next to get introduced into the attack and could have struck Pant’s wicket on his first legal delivery but Usman once again failed to get under the ball properly. Babar handed the ball to Haris Rauf for the tenth over and Pant welcomed him with three consecutive boundaries breaking the mental shackles.

Pant reverse-swept Imad for a boundary in the 11th over and the runs were flowing smoothly for the first time in the innings before Rauf took his first wicket of the evening as Suryakumar hit the ball straight to Amir at mid-off.

Shivam Dube was the next to bat for the Men in Blue but his struggles in New York continued as he failed to procure runs at a fast pace before getting caught & bowled to Naseem on a score of 3 runs off 9 balls. 

Amir was the next to strike as Pant was caught at mid-off by Azam after contributing 42 runs off 31 balls. Ravindra Jadeja once again failed to rise on a tough occasion as he played with loose hands and gifted his wicket to Pakistan getting out on a golden duck.

Pakistan changed the mood during the middle overs in New York

Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh offered some resistance as India only scored 11 runs between the 12th and the 16th over, losing 4 wickets in the process. Arshdeep smashed his first boundary when Amir finally bowled in his arc before the fast bowler hit Arshdeep on the shoulder with a fiery bouncer.

Like Arshdeep did in the 17th over, Hardik also started the 18th over with a boundary as a streaky shot beat Naseem at third-man. Later in the over, Rauf struck the biggest fish in the pond as the Indian vice-captain was caught in the deep by Iftikhar. The fast bowler bowled wide to Jasprit Bumrah and the Mumbai Indians fast bowler found Imad at cover becoming the second to get out on a golden duck on Sunday.

In the 19th over, Mohammed Siraj started with three consecutive doubles adding six vital runs to the team’s total courtesy of a misfield and an overthrow but a run-out on the last ball of the over deflated the Indian side who would have been hoping to defend a target higher than 120 runs.

Against Arshdeep, Mohammed Rizwan and Azam started the Pakistani innings with two consecutive triples signifying their intent of bettering their net run rate along with bagging two points. On the first ball of the second over, Azam scored the first boundary of the innings off Siraj before the Royal Challengers Bengaluru fast bowler tightened the screws.

Bumrah could have struck on the fourth ball of the third over as Rizwan found Dube at fine leg but the Chennai Super Kings all-rounder spilt the sitter and the golden opportunity to dismiss the wicket-keeper batter. On the first ball of the fourth over, Azam smashed the ball hard back to the bowler and Siraj couldn’t hold on to the half-chance as well.

Azam then smashed a boundary off Bumrah before getting dismissed on the next ball as Suryakumar completed a low catch finally getting the first wicket in the bag.

Vice-captain Pandya was the next in line to be introduced into the bowling attack and the Mumbai Indians skipper immediately put pressure on Rizwan with two consecutive dot balls but he struck a long maximum over the long-off region before Hardik retaliated by stinging a ball straight onto the gloves as Pakistan reached the end of the powerplay at 35/1.

After that maximum, things got brighter for the Men in Blue as they tightened the screws and the run-flow dried till Usman stepped out and smashed a boundary off Pandya in the ninth over. In the next over, Jadeja only conceded 2 runs off the first 5 balls before Rizwan stepped out and scored a four in the extra-cover region.

Axar was introduced into the attack after the drinks break and immediately struck as Usman was trapped Leg Before Wicket and was dismissed on a score of 13 runs off 15 balls. Fakhar Zaman came in to bat at No.4 and immediately affected the proceedings with a huge maximum down the ground.

Arshdeep’s re-introduction meant another boundary as Fakhar glanced the ball to the fence with ease but Hardik’s re-introduction spelt an end to Zaman’s innings as the southpaw skied the ball straight to Pant ending his innings after playing a useful cameo of 13 runs off 8 balls.

A streaky edge off Imad’s blade helped the all-rounder get off the mark as a tight over from Arshdeep left Pakistan needing 40 runs in the last six overs. Bumrah then castled the set batter Rizwan as he went through the gates and dismissed the opening batter at a score of 31 runs off 44 balls.

Shadab Khan joined Imad in the middle and the duo could only procure two runs off the 16th over bowled by Axar before Pandya dismissed Shadab with Pant completing the catch behind the wicket.

The 18th over was bowled by Siraj who did bowl a no ball and a wide but ended up conceding only 9 runs which left the Shaheens with 21 runs to chase off the last 12 balls. Bumrah started the penultimate over by conceding only a run from the first three balls before dismissing Iftikhar off the last ball as Arshdeep completed a fine catch in the deep.

On the first ball of the 20th over, Arshdeep dismissed Imad ending the all-rounder’s struggle in the middle after contributing 15 runs off 23 balls. After two singles, Naseem found the fence with an innovative ramp shot taking Pakistan to an equation of 12 runs off 2 balls. Another well-placed four through the point region before taking a single which sealed a 6-run defeat for the Shaheens.