A nother good game of cricket between two arch-rivals — one that lived up to what is expected of sports: healthy competition, solidarity and brotherhood. India did beat Pakistan on Sunday in the high-voltage game of the ICC T20 World Cup in the Australian city of Melbourne — the same venue where Pakistan had clinched the World Cup thirty years back. India reached the 160-run target only on the last ball — a result that did not pain Pakistani fans given the tough fight that Greenshirts put up.
And had it not been for lady luck smiling on the Men in Blue in the final over — in the shape of a debatable no-ball as well as three byes taken on what the fielding side thought as dead ball for hitting the stumps on a free hit — the result would have been otherwise. Both umpiring decisions remain a debate among experts and fans. The match, though lost, has a few positives for Team Pakistan. First of all, it was the much-criticised middle order that led the team to a respectable total. With both the openers, skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan, falling cheaply, it was the middle order that played the desired role.
While Iftikhar Ahmed, coming in at four hit a blazing 34-ball 51 including four towering sixes; number three batsman Shan Masood responsibly kept one end intact scoring 52 off 42 deliveries with the help of five fours. This must have given a lot of confidence to our men in the middle order. Also, Team Pakistan gave the Indians a good run for their money — in what must have been a huge morale booster for the Babar Azam men. Shaheen Shah Afridi’s fitness is a question mark though. As asset like him needs to be rested if he is not fit — both in the interest of Pakistan and his own. The competition, meanwhile, is wide open — as the Super 12s stage has just started — and promises a thrilling contest ahead.
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