Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has underlined a big error that he feels cost Pakistan their opening Asia Cup 2022 match against India at the Dubai International Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Chasing 148 to win, India were in a spot of bother when they were four down for 89, but all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja played crucial innings that got India over the line by five wickets. Their 52-run partnership was India’s highest of the match after Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma had stitched a 49-run stand for the second wicket.
Kohli and Rohit were going great before left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz dismissed both batters in successive overs to bring Pakistan right back into the game. Surprisingly though, after bowling the 12th over, Babar kept Nawaz till the very end, brining him back for his final six balls in the last over of the match. And that is where Akram feels Babar missed the trick.
“I like this T20 type of pitch. I enjoyed watching bowlers bowl bouncers and getting wickets, both sides. It was a good cricketing game that went down to the wire till the last over. 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 T20s 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 end of the match.
The result might show that India won the match but it was pretty evenly-fought contest. Besides Nawaz’s three wickets, debutant Naseem Shah dismissed two India batters – including KL Rahul for a golden duck. But more than their bowling figures, it was the heart that Naseem and Haris Rauf showed playing through pain in the hot and humid conditions of Dubai that impressed Akram the most.
“He is a very clever bowler, Nawaz. He had just bowled the straighter one, got the inside edge. Well done India. They won the game. Congratulations. But I was impressed by Pakistan’s bowler. Dahani, playing his 3rd or 4th game, Naseem Shah, 20-21 years-old playing his first game, Haris Rauf has been consistent for Pakistan and every bowler tried their heart out. You can see that the future is bright for Pakistan as far as fast bowling is concerned,” added Akram.