Asia Cup 2023: India off to flying start against Pakistan as Rohit, Gill maintain pressure on bowlers

India off to flying start against Pakistan

Colombo: India are 118 for no loss at the end of the 16th over against Pakistan in the Super Fours match of the Asia Cup 2023 in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sunday.

At the end of 15 overs, Pakistan have given away 115 runs, 54 of which were in the last five overs. Immaculate half centuries from both Rohit Sharma and Shubnam Gill have delivered a dream start for the Indians. The Blue Shirts are looking at building a huge target. Will Pakistan get a breakthrough and slow down the onslaught?

Three off of Haris’ third brings the Indian total to 118 for the loss of no wickets. Both Sharma and Gill are settling in for the latter part of the first innings.

Drinks are called after the 16th over. Phew.

15th over
Rohit continued the onslaught against Shadab as the first two deliveries from the leggie went for 10 runs. Two singles bring 12 runs for the over. The Indian side has scored 54 runs in the last five overs. Indian score now at 115 for no loss.

14th over
Five extras after a wide delivery went for a short and a double brings seven runs off of Haris’ second over. A 100 runs come up for the opening pair for the Indians. India are now 103 for no loss after 14 overs.

13th over
Gill completes a half-century against what was Shadab Khan’s first over of the innings. After an immaculate performance by the youngster, in which he scored 10 fours. Shadab in the same over, was dispatched for two sixes and a boundary on the last delivery bringing the total for the over to 19 runs. Runs are flowing for the Indian side. India are now 96 for the loss of no wicket.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill react during the match.—BCCI/X
12th over
Express pacer Haris Rauf has been brought into the attack by the skipper. Rohit tried to hook Haris on his last delivery, however, he edged it over the boundary behind the keeper. Eight runs off of the first Haris Rauf over bring the Indian total to 77 for the loss of no wickets.

Shubman Gill with the bat.—ESPN Cricinfo/X
11th over
Indian batters are now rotating the strike normally. Four singles and a boundary from Shubman Gill down fine leg brings up India’s 13th boundary. India are now 69 for the loss of no wickets.

A poster on X:

“Follow the plan! Plan: Gill ka catch choro …. 3 chokay khao …. Repeat!”

10th over
Shaheen is back in the field.

Rohit started the attack against Naseem, dispatching him for four on consecutive deliveries over the mid-on region. A flick and a pull ends Naseem’s fifth for eight runs. India are now 61 for no loss at the end of the powerplay.

9th over
Shubman Gill took the charge to Faheem in the ninth over beating cover and point fielder for a boundary. A double off the second-last delivery ends the over for six runs. India are now 53 for no loss.

Shubman Gill with the bat.—ESPN Cricinfo/X
8th over
Two boundaries off Naseem’s over bring the Indian total to 47 for no loss. Shubman rolled his wrists over to dispatch Naseem for a boundary over the point area. An edge of Shubman’s bat flew past first and second slip, unlucky Naseem.

7th over
Shaheen walked off the field. The effort of Naseem’s first ball in the inning has seemingly done some damage to the pacer’s left fingers. Faheem replaces Shaheen in the seventh over with a single from it. Good over from Faheem, India are now 37 for no loss.

6th over
A maiden from Naseem to end the sixth over for Pakistan. The young pacer is holding his line and moving the ball both ways trying to cause trouble for the Indian batters. Rohit, biding his time, does not get bat to the ball in the over. India are now 37 for the loss of no wicket.

5th over
Gill advanced on the pitch on the second ball of Shaheen’s third and dispatched him over long-on for a boundary. Afridi decided to come around the wicket to the Indian batter and dispatched for two consecutive fours over the cover region. Indian batters are really breaking free against Shaheen. India are now 37 for the loss of no wickets.

4th over
Wide from Naseem off the fifth ball gives a single from the fourth over. Babar reviewed a not-out decision from Naseem’s fifth ball after the ball clearly missed the edge of Rohit Sharma. The TV umpire agreed with the onfield umpire. India are now 24 for the loss of no wickets.

Rohit Sharma.—ESPN Cricinfo/X
3rd over
Shaheen was dispatched for back-to-back boundaries of the first two balls by Shubman Gill. A thick inside edge of an attempted flick over the mid-on region gave Gill his second boundary of the game. He went after the southpaw again on the fifth ball, driving the pacer towards the straight boundary. The Indian score is now at 23 after 12 from the third over.

India’s Rohit Sharma (L) and Shubman Gill bump gloves at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.—ESPNCricInfo/X
2nd over
The ball flew over to third man of Shubman Gill’s edge of the bat falling just short of Shaheen. A tremendous stroke over the covers by Rohit ends the over for five runs. India are at 11 for the loss of no wicket at the end of two overs.

First over
Five dots and a six on the last ball ruin a perfect first over. Shaheen Shah Afridi is bowling full and straight first up. Rohit is visibly wary of the Pakistani pacer. India are at six for the loss of no wickets at the end of the first over.

Pakistan win toss, opt to field
A hazy sun shone as captain Babar Azam and Indian skipper Rohit Sharma stood for the toss on the pitch as commentator Ravi Shastri looked on.

After captain Babar Azam announced his plan to bowl first, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said they would have batted anyway.

Earlier, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) posted a photo of clear skies at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on its X (formerly Twitter) account.

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) also put up a photo exclaiming: “The skies are clear as we all gear up for an exciting contest!”

However, there could be rain interruptions at the beginning of play and in the second half, according to The Weather Channel’s forecast. When the match begins at 3pm local time (2:30 PST), there is a 90pc likelihood of thunderstorms, which will abate by 4pm (3:30 PST).

Screenshot from The Weather Channel.
Rain had washed out their previous encounter last week at the Pallakele Stadium, bringing an anti-climatic end to the match that left the Green Shirts waiting for their chance at the bat after dominating India with their aggressive bowling lineup.

India was bowled out for 266 in the 49th over against Pakistan and had set a target of 267. Both the teams had shared points for that match.

A reserve day has been introduced for the Asia Cup Super Four contest between Pakistan and India amid the possibility of rains interrupting the match. Multiple weather forecasts had predicted a high probability of rain on Sunday, particularly during match hours.

ESPNcricinfo had also reported that it is the only match apart from the final to have a reserve day. According to a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), a “reserve day has been incorporated” for the high-voltage tie.

Pakistan side
Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Faheem Ashraf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Indian side
RG Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan†, KL Rahul, HH Pandya, RA Jadeja, SN Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, JJ Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.