Arch-rivals India and Pakistan finally took on each other after almost ten months as they locked horns on Sunday. The two teams played their opening fixture of the Asia Cup 2022 against each other and it was Rohit Sharma-led India who won the high-octane clash. Although it was not a high-scoring encounter, it surely had all the thrill and excitement expected of an India-Pakistan match.
After opting to bowl, India bundled out Pakistan for 147 and then chased down the total with two balls to spare and five wickets left. Hardik Pandya was the star performer for India as he shone with both bat and ball. The 28-year-old followed his three-wicket haul with a quickfire 33* off 17 balls to seal the match for India. Overall, it was a thrilling match with a perfect ending for India.
However, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar did not find the contest interesting enough. Akhtar looked unhappy with the kind of cricket played while reviewing the game. The 47-year-old said that both teams tried their best to lose the game and it was a bad day for cricket. Akhtar also criticized both Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam for poor team selection.
"I want to congratulate both India and Pakistan. Both teams tried to lose the game, India was almost successful in that. India were trying their best to lose the game but Hardik Pandya took them over the line. You only tell me, if Rizwan will score 45 of 45 balls, what to say? There were 19 dot balls in the first six overs when Pakistan were batting. If you play so many dot balls, you will be in trouble," Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
"There was bad selection, both captains Babar Azam and Rohit Sharma made bad selection calls. India dropped Rishabh Pant and Pakistan played Iftikhar Ahmed at No.4. No disrespect to him. I have said so many times that Babar should not open, he should come one down and he anchors the innings. Fakhar and Rizwan should open," he stated further.