DUBAI: Captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired against a disciplined Indian bowling attack as Pakistan were bowled out for a meagre 162 in their Asia Cup group match on Wednesday.
At the sold-out Dubai International Stadium, where the two teams were meeting for the first time, Pakistan lost their openers within the first six overs and even a third-wicket partnership of 80 between Babar Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43) could not put them on the path to recovery.
Azam was bowled with the score on 85 after he tried to step out to left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and missed the line completely, and the next four wickets could only put together 56 runs as they struggled against the flattish off-spin bowling of part-timer Kedar Jadhav.
India’s bowlers gave away just three runs in the first 5.1 overs and removed the openers.
Jasprit Bumrah, back in the team after getting a rest against Hong Kong on Tuesday, did not give away a single run in his first two overs, and his partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar reaped the rewards as the suffocated Inam-ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman fell to ambitious shots.
Kumar later returned to remove tailender Hasan Ali and finished with figures of 3-15 in seven overs. Jadhav also took three wickets for 23 in nine overs.
There was a bit of scare for India when all-rounder Hardik Pandya needed to be stretchered off the field after injuring his lower back while bowling the 18th over of the inning.
India made two changes to the team that won against Hong Kong, with Bumrah and Pandya coming in for Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed. Pakistan fielded an unchanged eleven following their eight-wicket win over Hong Kong on Sunday.
Both teams have already qualified for the round-robin Super Four stage following wins in their respective opening group matches against Hong Kong.