The much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash at the Asia Cup abandoned due to rain
The much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash at the Asia Cup saw only one innings being played out as rain played spoilsport, preventing any action after the break on Saturday.
India had chosen to bat first and were bowled out on 266 runs in 48.3 overs. Pakistan couldn’t commence their reply due to the inclement weather, resulting in the abandonment of the first one-day international (ODI) encounter between the arch-rivals since the 2019 World Cup in England.
As a result of the rain-induced abandonment, the points for this match were shared, with Pakistan progressing to the Super Fours, having previously defeated Nepal. India’s path to the next round necessitates a victory against Nepal in their final group game.
Former PCB chair criticizes Asian Cricket Council over scheduling
Following the abandonment, former Pakistan Cricket Board chair Najam Sethi criticized the Asian Cricket Council over the scheduling of the continental tournament. There was a significant delay in announcing the dates for Asia Cup as Pakistan was originally scheduled to host the entire tournament; however, reservations from BCCI over traveling to the country – owing to political tensions between both nations – meant Sri Lanka were picked as co-hosts.
However, Sethi stated that he had suggested the United Arab Emirates as the venue for the tournament, but the suggestion was denied citing the hot weather conditions in the gulf country.
“How disappointing! Rain mars the greatest contest in cricket. But this was forecast. As PCB Chair, I urged the ACC to play in UAE but poor excuses were made to accommodate Sri Lanka. Too hot in Dubai, they said. But it was as hot when the Asia Cup was played there last time in Sep 2022 or when IPL was played there in April 2014 and Sep 2020. Politics over sport. Unforgivable!” Sethi wrote.
Asia Cup history and venue controversy
It is worth mentioning that the Asia Cup was played in the UAE in September last year, but in the shortest format (T20I). As such, all games were scheduled during the night. The Indian Premier League, too, is played in T20 format and was conducted in the UAE in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indian batting lineup faced a stern challenge against Pakistan’s formidable pace trio, all of whom consistently touched speeds above 140 kph. Shaheen Afridi was the standout performer, securing four wickets, while Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf claimed three wickets each. Afridi, with the new ball, made crucial breakthroughs by dismissing Rohit Sharma (11) and Virat Kohli (4), putting Pakistan in a favorable position.
Haris Rauf then accounted for Shubman Gill (10) and Shreyas Iyer (14), further denting India’s innings as they slumped to 66-4. India’s recovery was orchestrated by a remarkable fifth-wicket partnership between Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan, amassing 138 runs off 141 deliveries.