In a roller-coaster of an inning, India found a lifeline through the remarkable 138-run partnership between Hardik Pandya (87) and Ishan Kishan (82) after opting to bat.
This crucial stand allowed India to post a competitive total of 266 on the board, following a rocky start against the fiery Shaheen Afridi.
The beginning of India’s innings was marked by rain-enforced interruptions, but Afridi soon found his rhythm after the first break. He initially faced a challenge from Rohit Sharma, who managed to flick a four and a six off his deliveries.
However, Afridi’s change in tactics, moving the ball across Rohit, resulted in the Indian captain’s dismissal, clean bowled by a ball that nipped off the surface. Afridi continued his brilliance by dismissing Virat Kohli in the very next over, sending him back bowled off an inside edge, reducing India to a precarious 27/2.
Another rain break disrupted play, and India faced further setbacks as Haris Rauf struck with an indifferent spell. First, he had Shreyas Iyer caught at midwicket while Shubman Gill’s defence was breached with an incoming delivery.
With India struggling at 66/4, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya joined forces. Despite Pakistan’s preference for spin during this phase, the duo adeptly navigated the challenge. They initially crafted a 50-run partnership before shifting gears gradually.
Pakistan’s spin attack faltered, with Shadab Khan delivering full tosses and long hops. Kishan, in an unfamiliar role at No. 5, balanced watchfulness with striking prowess, including a well-executed six off Mohammad Nawaz to reach the 100-run partnership in the 33rd over.
Hardik also took advantage, particularly against Rauf, who erred in length, conceding three boundaries, including a fiery pull through midwicket.
Just as the partnership seemed poised to propel India toward the 300-run mark, Pakistan’s pace bowlers made a crucial breakthrough.
Rauf dismissed Kishan, who had picked up a groin strain, caught at mid-on, while Afridi had Pandya caught at cover with a slower ball. Afridi continued his dominance by having Jadeja caught behind, and Naseem Shah dismissed Shardul Thakur with a leading edge.
Although Jasprit Bumrah added some eye-catching boundaries, India’s innings took a dramatic turn as they lost their last five wickets for a mere 27 runs, eventually being bowled out for 266.
In a gripping display of cricket, India’s fortunes swung wildly, ultimately resting on the resilient partnership between Pandya and Kishan that salvaged their innings from the brink of collapse.