Another year and another India vs Pakistan match awaits the world. It may not be possible to break the viewership records that were set the last time these two sides met, which was in the 2015 World Cup in Adelaide, but nevertheless it will be an intense match. The match will be played in Mirpur on 27th February, and this time the Asia Cup clash will be a T20 match.
Let’s rewind to 2nd March, 2014. It was one of the most captivating finishes in a match between the two sides in the 21st century, which ended with the Indian fans in disbelief and Pakistani fans absolutely euphoric. In his own inimitable manner, Shahid Afridi smashed Ravichandran Ashwin for two consecutive sixes when nine runs were required off four balls with only one wicket in hand.
Pakistan won the toss, and decided to field. Rohit Sharma got India off to a good start with a half-century. He scored 56 off 58 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes, but India struggled to capitalize on the good start, finding themselves at 155 for 5 in the 37th over. Ambati Rayudu (58) steadied the innings and quick runs by Ravindra Jadeja in the end (52), allowed India to post a respectable total of 245 in their 50 overs. Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets and debutant Mohammad Talha was impressive with his economical 2 for 22 in seven overs.
The chase began in a stable manner with the Pakistani openers scoring 67 in the first power-play. A middle order collapse resulted in them stumbling to 113 for four in the 23rd over, with Mohammad Hafeez stranded at one end. He found a reliable partner in Sohaib Maqsood and both of them put together a partnership of 87 for the fifth wicket. Both of them however got out within the space of three runs, with Pakistan requiring 44 from six overs. Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul moved the innings along at a quick pace, adding 32 in 23 balls for the 7th wicket. Pakistan were cruising with only 11 required from 10 balls, when three quick wickets fell. Afridi got the strike, after a single was taken in the second ball of the last over. He then proceeded to smash Ashwin for two sixes in the next two balls, guiding Pakistan to a stunning one wicket victory. Until the last over, Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 44, supported by Amit Mishra with 2 for 28 in his spell.
It was quite the thriller the last time these two sides met in the Asia Cup and we should expect nothing else come February 27th.
Live streaming and live score updates for the 2016 Asia Cup can be found on hotstar. The match will be telecast live on the Star Sports network, with both English and Hindi commentary.
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