The Big Picture
After weeks of anticipation, build-up and euphoria, India and Pakistan will finally lock heads in the Asia Cup for the first time since the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
Pakistan won that game by 180 runs and it is probably the first time in ten years that they go as slight favourites in an Indo-Pak encounter.
But, they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they take India lightly. India has dominated Pakistan in the current decade, having won seven of the eleven encounters and the Men in Blue will look to shrug off the ignominy of that Champions Trophy loss against their arch-rivals on Wednesday.
Also Read:- India vs Pakistan – Statistical Preview
Today, let us relive India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup encounters of the current decade.
A battle between Kohli and Amir
It was the first ever occasion where Asia Cup was being held in a T20 format with an eye on the T20 World Cup that followed a month later in India.
The pitches at the 2016 Asia Cup had an unusual seam movement for the bowlers, pretty unlike the traditional Bangladesh wickets. Pakistan batted first and
Pakistan batted first and was shot out for 83 in 17.3 overs with Hardik Pandya chipping in with career-best figures of 3-8.
Chasing 84, Mohammad Amir bowled a sensational opening burst of seam and swing bowling to reduce India to 3-8 with Rohit Dharma and Ajinkya Rahane going for a duck. The match was reduced to a battle between Kohli and Amir, the winner of which would ultimately decide the outcome of the game. Kohli played Amir cautiously before launching a calculated assault on the other Pakistan bowlers to score a 51-ball-49 to take India past the finishing line by five wickets.
Afridi’s last-over heroics seals the deal
A game remembered for Shahid Afridi’s last over heroics to hand Pakistan a famous win.
India, batting first scored 8-245 in 50 overs thanks to fifties from Rohit Sharma (56), Ambati Rayudu (58) and Ravindra Jadeja (52).
Pakistan got off to a good start with the openers putting on 71 runs for the first wicket before Ashwin accounted for Sharjeel at 25. Hafeez scored a well compiled 75 but a middle-order ensued with Misbah (1) and Umar Akmal (4) going cheaply to leave Pakistan reeling at 4-113. Shoaib Maqsood hung around with Hafeez to stitch a valuable 83-run stand before quick wickets of both of them put the game back in the balance.
Ultimately, it came down to their talisman Shahid Afridi with Pakistan requiring 10 off the last over with just one wicket at hand. Afridi, in his quintessential manner, swatted Ashwin for a couple of Brobdingnagian sixes and swirl his hands in typical Afridi fashion to script a memorable win for his side.
Kohli’s coming-of-age innings and Tendulkar’s last ODI match
A match symbolic for a couple of occasions- the game proved to be Sachin Tendulkar’s last ODI and Virat Kohli’s masterly 183.
India was up against it for the first half of the game as Pakistan, thanks to hundreds from both of their openers in Hafeez (105) and Nasir Jamshed (112) who accumulated 224 runs for the first wicket, racked up 6-329 in 50 overs.
India lost Gambhir for a second ball duck before Tendulkar (52) and Kohli (183) stitched a valuable 133-run stand for the second wicket. Ajmal nipped out the valuable wicket of Tendulkar for 68 when Virat Kohli took centre stage.
Fresh from his annihilation of Lasith Malinga at Hobart, Kohli got stuck into the Pakistan bowling line-up. He was particularly aggressive against Wahab Riaz; the same bowler who’d got him out in the 2011 World Cup semi-final, taking 50 runs from his four overs.
Kohli’s brutal assault deflated the Pakistani attack as the Delhi batsman scored his career-best 183 to take India.past the finishing line with 19 balls to spare
Harbhajan gets one over Shoaib Akhtar
A game remembered for tensions flaring across both camps with Gambhir and Kamran Akmal and then Harbhajan and Shoaib Akhtar involved in a barrage of verbal assault.
Pakistan batted first and thanks to Salman Butt’s 74 and Kamran Akmal’s 41-ball-51 posted a competitive 267 in 49.3 overs.
Chasing 268, India looked well in control of the chase with Gautam Gambhir anchoring the innings with a 97-ball-83 and Dhoni compiling a fifty
But Saeed Ajmal nipped out Gambhir before Sharma (22), and Jadeja (6) followed suit to keep the game in the balance at 6-219 on 45.1 overs.
With around 5o runs still to get, Raina (34) and Harbhajan stitched a 43 run partnership to take India to the brink. Harbhajan and Akhtar were involved in a heated exchange in the penultimate over and when Raina was run-out in the last over, it was all down to Harbhajan to take India across the line
The heated exchange brought the best out of Harbhajan as he smoked Amir for a.monstrous six over deep midwicket.