Asia Cup: Malik shines as Pakistan score 237/7 against India

DUBAI : Pakistan produced an improved batting performance, led by India's nemesis Shoaib Malik, scoring 237 for 7 in a 'Super Four' encounter of the Asia Cup here Sunday.

Veteran Malik scored 78 off 90 balls and added an invaluable 107 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (44 off 66 balls) to enable Pakistan post a fighting total.

The Pakistan innings could be segregated into three distinct parts. A slow tart where India made inroads followed by solid middle-overs batting before failing to utilise the launch pad fully with Jasprit Bumrah (2/29 in 10 overs) being brilliant at the death.

India once again started well with Mahendra Singh Dhoni's penchant for getting DRS reviews right after Yuzvendra Chahal (2/46 in 9 overs) got his first wicket by trapping Imam ul Haq (10) in front of the stumps.

Fakhar Zaman (31) was set but lost his footing trying to sweep Kuldeep Yadav (2/41 in 10 overs) to get leg before. The replays showed that the ball hit his gloves first but Pakistan didn't take a review.

Babar Azam was run-out when his skipper got a call for single wrong as Pakistan were reduced to 58 for three.

However it was the Malik-Sarfraz combination that provided the launch pad with their sensible approach during the middle overs.

The seasoned duo kept on rotating the strike, hitting the boundaries and sixes whenever given an opportunity.

Malik, who is a master player of spin bowling, hit Yuzvendra Chahal for a slog sweep and also played Kedar Jadhav (0/20 in 3 overs) well. Jadhav was hit for a couple of boundaries in a single over as he dropped short.

Without trying to defend, Malik-Sarfraz got singles at will against Jadhav, prompting Rohit to take him off attack after only three overs.

Ravinda Jadeja (0/50 in 9 overs) after a good match against Bangladesh was flat and Malik used his feet to perfection lofting him straight into the VIP stands for a six.

Sarfraz, who played second fiddle to perfection was finally dismissed when he tried to hit Kuldeep over cover only to be snapped by Rohit Sharma.

Malik was joined by Asif Ali (30 off 21 balls), who teed off by smashing Bhuvneshwar Kumar for two sixes and a boundary in the 42nd over, that fetched Pakistan 22 runs.

However, there was another twist left as Jasprit Bumrah, coming back for his final spell got an inside edge off Malik's bat to get him caught behind. His innings had four boundaries and two sixes.

Asif, who looked like cutting loose, missed a googly from Chahal to get bowled as Pakistan lost the momentum.

Bumrah was phenomenal at the death, bowling block-hole deliveries at will. In all he bowled 39 dot balls in his 10 overs and Pakistan could score only 38 runs in their last seven overs.

 

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PTI