India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 18, 2012

Kohli's near escape and a Saeed Ajmal special

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan in Mirpur

The slip
Virat Kohli's sensational one-day form continued in Mirpur, and he had put India well on course to complete their largest successful chase. There were a few edges towards third man during his innings, but the major concern came when he was on 121. He tried to power a full ball from Umar Gul, but didn't connect well. The ball rolled safely to the leg side, but he lost his bat during the follow-through. To his horror, it flew towards the stumps. Gul watched expectantly, but the bat narrowly missed off stump, and Kohli went on to mete out more punishment to the Pakistan bowlers.

The interruption
The Shere Bangla stadium was already abuzz with the fans raucously supporting Pakistan, and the PA system blaring out the latest pop hits. All that was drowned out by the roar of a military jet flying around the stadium, and thrilling the crowd by doing a loop. Part of the military routines ahead of the independence day celebrations on March 26, the jet flew past the ground several times. The umpire Ian Gould even stopped Ashok Dinda from bowling till it had passed and left a slightly quieter atmosphere for play to resume.

The doosra
Sachin Tendulkar was playing one of his carefree innings, and had completed a quick half-century. He had shown ominous signs of form, including an utterly effortless uppercut that went over slips and over the third man boundary. Pakistan's fielding was in pieces, with 17 coming off the 17th over from Wahab Riaz, and India had the momentum. It was time for Saeed Ajmal's doosra to work its magic, and it did. Tendulkar was looking for the turn, and closed the face, getting an edge to slip.

The collision
In the 38th over, Umar Akmal gently played the ball towards square leg. Virat Kohli rushed in from deep midwicket, and Rohit Sharma from deep backward square leg, neither realising that the other was also closing in on the ball. Kohli crashed into Rohit's shoulder and both men were down on the ground, reminding some of the recent collision between Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan in Sydney. Like then, neither player was seriously hurt, getting back on their feet after a bit of medical attention. At the SCG, though, Raina had managed to hang on to the ball for a catch, this time the ball trickled through allowing an all-run four.

The catch
Even as India's spirits were being crushed by the Pakistan batsmen, Raina gave it a lift with a blinder at extra cover. Younis Khan played a firm lofted inside-out stroke towards Raina, and would have felt he had enough on it to clear the fielder. Raina skipped to his left, before leaping and stretching his right hand across his body to pluck it out of the air. With Pakistan already at 323, there was little elation from Raina despite a spectacular effort.

The late-effort
When Mohammad Hafeez clubbed the first ball of the seventh over above Gautam Gambhir at mid-on, Gambhir expected that the quick outfield would help it to the boundary. Initially, he only made a half-hearted amble towards the ball, before realising that Hafeez hadn't timed it too well and that he had a chance of hauling it back. He then switched to full speed but it was too late, and the ball beat him to the rope.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sreekanth on March 19, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - Indians haven't played Ajmal before much, and especially they haven't played him in a test. Once they play him in a test then they will figure him out, just like it took 2-3 tests to figure out Mendis etc. etc. Even then they played him quite well yesterday, they made him irrelevant mostly.

  • Ashok on March 19, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    @satish619chandar: I am glad to note your agreement on inclusion of Rahul in XI.India has thrived on batting skills of Dravid, Sachin, Sehwag & Laxman. Now that these guys are exiting, so is India. While there are lots of batting stars like Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Pujara, Tiwary & Rahane in the back ground, there are no bowlers. Three seamers in 140KPH range exist in Ishant, Yadev & Aaron - none of them in the Asia Cup squad. However 2 of the future potential spinners in Ashwin & Rahul are in the squad. Is there any justification for dropping Rahul for 10 ODI's in a row, when the Indian bowling is so doleful? How will India develop bowlers when they never play in the XI?It is good to have all rounders but you need 4 specialist bowlers in XI first to have any chance of winning ODI's.India was lucky to chase 330 runs Vs. Pak. Rahul would have bowled 10 overs @<5 runs/over +2 or 3 Wkts - what did Yusuf do in bowling + no batting!.When you don't use the bowlers, Dhoni should stop complaining

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Many don't seem to realize that net-run-rate doesn't matter, if Bangladesh beats SriLanka. Bangladesh had beaten India in the league game, and hence they will walk into the finals. As simple as that. The BD boys had been playing the most spirited game, consistently, and as a team, and as such, I won't be surprised to see them in the finals. I won't be surprised, even if they beat Pak and lift the cup. If it happens, I would say, "well done; and they deserved it for their 100% efforts -- by everyone in the team!"

  • sowmi on March 19, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    India should play against Pakistan in a test match. Ajmal can bowl over after over and it would be an amazing contest.

  • am on March 19, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is dangerous bowler. Even though his arm bent may be little discomforting still he is a terrific bowler. And dhoni please kick out RG sharma and take manoj tiwari. And in bowling department please include Rahul sharma.... PK, VK, Irfan pathan are all having tough time bowling in these conditions. Not just these even pakistan bowlers had tough time bowling on these wickets. But still PAk bowling is better than the current bowling set up of india. Indian team bowling dept should be Rahul sharma, Ashwin, VK , pathan. The only reason VK above PK is because VK is slightly better in this tournament. And yusuf should remain too in the team ahead of Jaddu.

  • Satish on March 19, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    @Nampally : I too feel they should prefer Rahul now as he can bowl in death overs too and he can be deceptive as he is a new comer and not many teams would have had a look on him.. Especially with the form Irfan had shown with bat.. He looked more than adequate with bat and need to be used as the allrounder at 7.. Are the team mgmt afraid to use him at 7 thinking it will affect his concentration on bowling? Irfan is now more experienced to balance both batting and bowling..

  • Rohan on March 19, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @Rajorshi Kumar Sen - let bangladesh support whoever they want, 1.21 billion is enough fr team india......

  • Madhu on March 19, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    i hate these flat tracks.. whats the point if there is nothing for seamers

  • sandeep on March 19, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    @shahbazhussain :- till now there is no player i guess

    but SA hashim amla is coming

    he has 9 centuries in 57 matches

  • John on March 19, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    @spinkingKK, I'm inclined to agree. Hafeez and Jamshed got off to a great start but they seemed to cruise without trying to accelerate even though they had wickets in hand. Of course, if they'd tried to up the pace and got out and then Pakistan had collapsed we'd be singing a different tune, but they obviously underestimated India's ability to chase down a big total. Noone should have done that after Hobart but particularly not now.

  • No featured comments at the moment.