In a thrilling final over on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium, India overcame Pakistan by five wickets. In a game for the 2022 Asia Cup between the two bitter rivals, all-rounder Hardik Pandya displayed steely grit to pull off the robbery for the Indian team as they chased down a 148-run mark. In addition to Pandya’s key performance, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s poor planning in the second innings undoubtedly contributed significantly to his team’s defeat by India.
By the 19th over, the Pakistani fast bowlers had completed their allotted overs, and spinner Mohammad Nawaz was given the assignment to bowl the final 6 balls with only 7 runs to defend. It is important to note that by the 12th over of the innings, Nawaz had completed his third over; nonetheless, Babar’s poor bowler rotation led to Nawaz being sent in to bowl the last over while Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja were already seated at the crease.
Wasim Akram, a former Pakistani speedster, believed Babar brought Nawaz in “too late” for the latter’s final over. He believed that by the 13th or 14th over, the captain should have finished the spinner’s four-over requirement. “I think Babar made one mistake. He should have had Nawaz bowl the 13th or 14th over. It was too late. You can’t have a spinner in T20 format (bowling) in the last 3 to 4 overs, especially against the likes of (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Hardik) Pandya,” Akram said on Star Sports after the match. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 4 for 26 and Hardik’s 3 for 25 helped India bundle out Pakistan for 147. The Pakistan bowlers fought well in the second innings of the match, but Hardik stole the show with an unbeaten 33 off 17 balls to take India home.