Pandya shines in India’s win over arch-rivals Pakistan

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Cricket is a religion in India and Pakistan and when these two historic neighbors and bitter rivals clash, the stadiums are packed and emotions run high.

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Tickets are normally purchased within hours as these two giants only face each other in international tournaments like the World Cup and Asian Cup as there are no bilateral tours due to political reasons.

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In the hot and scorching city of Dubai, fans lined up until eight o’clock to buy premium tickets for the Asian Cup group tie between the two and reports say the queues are s extended up to 3.5 kilometers. All roads leading to the 30,000-seat Dubai International Stadium were blocked for hours before the first ball hit. Ducats were priced at US$27 and up. On the black market, you can buy one for the same price as a plane ticket from Dubai to Karachi or Mumbai. It would cost you around $400.

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Previous encounters ended in one-sided victories for India until Pakistan ended India’s nearly three-decade dominance by 10 wickets in the World Cup Super 12 leg Twenty20 in Dubai. Pakistan looked set to repeat the feat at the same venue in the Asian Cup, but versatile Hardik Pandya delivered an outstanding all-around performance to end Pakistan’s winning streak at one in a one game cracker. Pakistan were dismissed for 147 with Rizwan Mohammad high score with 43 and fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar returning the outstanding numbers of four for 26 and Pandya taking three for 25. India finished on 148 for five with two balls to spare. The drama unfolded in the final two overs when India demanded 21 runs from 12 balls. The super cool Pandya then brought the equation down to seven points from six balls. But there was more drama to follow with fans of both teams sitting on hot coals when Ravindra Jadeja (35) was launched by spinner mohamed nawaz with five balls to play. With four balls remaining, Pandya broke a six to clinch a dramatic win.

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Other points of interest in the game were that the former skipper Virat Kohli became the first Indian to play 100 games in all game formats and he showed flashes of brilliance in his 35-for-34 shot. Pakistan set exciting pace for 19-year-old bowler Naseem Shah his first cap and he did not disappoint with two for 27 and his deliveries were all over 100 km/h. He might have been able to do better had it not been for a severe bout of cramps in his last two overs. This victory places India at the top of Group A ahead of Pakistan and Hong Kong.

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AMAZING AFGHANISTAN

A packed and noisy stadium in Sharjah saw Afghanistan pull off a second clash in Group B on Tuesday. After beating Sri Lanka in favor of the opener, the Afghans put their home troubles behind them by beating another Test side from Bangladesh by seven wickets. The win secured Afghanistan a spot in the Super 4 round. Spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan with three wickets apiece restricted Bangladesh to 127 for seven with Mosaddek Hossain making an undefeated 48. Then Najibullah Zadran with 43 steps out and Ibrahim Zadran with an undefeated 42 brought Afghanistan home with nine balls to spare.

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STOKES MASTERS PROTEAS

Forget Bazball. Call England Benball new test strategy. England crippled South Africa with a round in the second Test at Old Trafford in three days to turn the tables on the Proteas, the same way they were demolished in the first Test at Lord’s. Now the visitors have an unprecedented 11 days to lick their wounds before the litmus test at The Oval. And you can count on Ben Stokes to raise the bar again and expect England to give the South Africans another hammer blow. Stokes has had a dramatic impact since taking over a side that had won just one win in their last 17 Tests. He guided England to five wins before Dean Elgar South Africa taught England that crowd-pleasing chases would not succeed against well-rounded teams. At Old Trafford, England rejected Bazball, a term named after the coach Brendon McCullum, and instead I went back to basics of the game and it paid huge dividends. Stokes was named man of the match for his brilliant 103 and four wickets over the two legs as Proteas were dismissed for 151 and 179. England posted 415 over nine centuries with Stokes and an unbeaten 113 by the keeper of the counter. Ben Foakes. england 40 year old aging pacemaker, James Anderson, showed he is far from done with a run of six wickets. South Africa were also responsible for a complete lack of strategy in this test and the blame must lie with Elgar and his coach Mark Boucher who had to sleep at the control panel. Elgar messed up hitting first after winning the toss and Boucher must be put on the mat for leaving the 6ft 8in left arm Marc Jansen on the bench and including spinner Steve Harmer. Jensen, 22, took four wickets at Lord’s and weighed in at 48 runs.

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