Gargi Raut ∙ Aug 29 2022, 8:05 AM

What if IND vs PAK ended differently?

image-l7ee0ci1Hardik Pandya among defeated Pakistan team 

The India and Pakistan clash at the Asia Cup 2022 was filled with down to the wire action, over rate chaos, fielding mishaps, injury scares, last minute saves, decision overturns and a thrilling final chase. 

These little moments could have proved fatal to the Indian team; a close contest that could have ended pretty badly. 

Here's a look at what could have happened if stars hadn't aligned for the Men in Blue. 

Over-rate chaos 

The International Cricket Council in January 2022 announced that slow over-rate would be penalised with one less player in the outside circle. The clash last night became a live action example of the rule above. 

image-l7egqg30India celebrates the dismissal of a Pakistani batter

In the final couple overs the team was penalised as India failed to bowl the overs in given time. Rohit Sharma was forced to bring in a player from the outside circle in the 19th over of the match. The penalty proved insignificant because the Indian pace attack had everything under control, the Pakistan batting lineup was down to the final few and couldn't capitalise on the opportunity. But what if someone like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan or Asif Ali was on the crease? 

Now in the second innings, Pakistan were also handed the same penalty. The Indian batters on strike during the penalty - Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja gripped the opportunity by the throat, highlighting the biggest difference between the two teams: that the Indian batting lineup goes much deeper than Pakistan's. 

image-l7egma3eHardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja stitched a partnership of 52 runs

The scenario gave a clear insight into Pakistan's biggest weakness and India's biggest strength. Even though the Indian batting line-up doesn't have a solid backbone, one thing is clear, Men in Blue sure can bat. 

It looks like the team long looking for a finisher after Dhoni's retirement just decided to stop looking for a single finisher and rather assembled a squad with batters that were explosive enough to finish the game at any given moment.

Injury worries or relief?

image-l7egjsdrNaseem Shah collapses in pain on the 5th ball of his final over

No matter the outcome, all hearts went out to the 19 year-old Naseem Shah as he displayed immense heart and dedication to the sport and his team. Limping into his bowling run-up and stumbling on the landing with a grimace on his face but refusing to give up. 

Although Shah's injury was a worry to the Men in Green was it a breath of relief for India?

The debutant proved dangerous as he sent the Indian vice-captain back to the dugout for a duck and only on the second delivery of the innings. In his third over, the young speedster again bowled over the dangerous Suryakumar Yadav, who was batting at a strike rate of 100. 

image-l7egk1amKL Rahul bowled out 

But alas, in the first ball of Shah's fourth over he was visibly struggling, braving the pain Shah continued bowling. He was limping after every follow through and barely could make it back to his bowling spot. The Indian batters made the most of the situation, taking advantage of the missed landings and shaken nerves of the bowler. 

The question being - could the game have been different if Naseem Shah wasn't injured in his final over? Would the final over be as fatal as the ones he bowled before?