India A had little to repair after Tayyab Tahir smashed an exceptional hundred to garnish Pakistan A`s march to a commanding 128-run win for a second consecutive Emerging Teams Asia Cup title on Sunday. Once Pakistan posted a mammoth 352 for eight courtesy Tahir`s 108 off 71 balls (12x4s, 4x6s), the result was in no real doubt. Though India made a fist of it, they ended up at 224 all out in 40 overs to suffer their first defeat in this tournament. From the toss, everything went south for India, who asked Pakistan to bat first, a decision which was a tad puzzling because the chasing team had lost eight matches in the tournament.
However, Pakistan A, who fielded as many as eight players with international experience, were in mood to give a return gift to India A, who fielded a purely U-23 side with no experience of top-flight cricket. Pakistan went off the blocks like a supercharged car, scoring over six runs and the run-rate subsequently crossed the seven-runs per-over mark.
Of all things in the high-octane summit clash, the umpiring has hogged most limelight. The controversial dismissal of star opener Sai Sudharsan put the umpires` roles under scrutiny. Having mistimed a pull shot off Arshad Iqbal’s delivery, Sudharsan was shown the pavillion by captain Mohammad Haris who got his big hands under the ball and claimed a brilliant catch. While the bowler’s front foot was being checked on TV replay, it appeared as if Iqbal had overstepped. Sudharsan, in the hope of the delivery being adjudged a no-ball, waited waited on the boundary ropes. However, much to his dismay, the TV umpire adjudged him out as Sudharsan walked off after scoring only 29 runs.
Netizens were not happy with the decision as Sudharsan`s presence in the crease would have lifted hopes of a turnaround in the stiff chase of 353. Here`s how fans have reacted:
India`s success in this tournament was built around their spin troika of Suthar, Nishant Sindhu and Abhishek Sharma, but Tahir invalidated their presence with a fine array of shots. The right-hander, who made his Pakistan senior team debut earlier this year, played cuts, drives, pulls and ramps at will to bring up a 66-ball 100.
He found an able sidekick in Mubasir Khan while milking 126 runs for the sixth wicket in just 16 overs, as they ran roughshod over Indian bowlers. The partnership also carried Pakistan past 300.
India did not seem perturbed by the massiveness of the target as B Sai Sudarshan and Abhishek amassed 64 runs for the opening wicket in 8.3 overs.
Pacer Arshad Iqbal broke the alliance, inducing an edge from Sudarshan for Mohammad Haris to complete an easy catch behind the stumps.
Abhishek completed a fifty (61, 51 balls) but once he departed, the rest of the Indian batters struggled to cope with the ever-mounting asking rate, perishing at regular intervals. Chinaman bowler Sufiyan Muqeem picked up three wickets to inflict maximum damage.
(With agency inputs)