'Receiving messages that India fixed this game. Are you out of your minds?': Akhtar goes ballistic at 'nonsense' claim
Shoaib Akhtar showed no mercy as he spoke in detail about the ‘absolute nonsense’ claims on fixing during India's Asia Cup game against Sri Lanka.
The Indian bowlers displayed an outstanding collective performance, leading their team to a 41-run victory over a determined Sri Lanka in a Super 4 match and thus securing a spot in the Asia Cup final. Rohit Sharma's half-century (53 off 48 balls) anchored India to a modest total of 213 runs, as Sri Lankan spinners Dunith Wellalage (5/40) and Charith Asalanka (4/18) caused trouble for the Indian batsmen. However, India, propelled by Kuldeep Yadav's 4 for 43, managed to dismiss Sri Lanka for 172 runs.
With four points in the bag and a game left to play, India now await the winner of the clash between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which will take place on Thursday. The game will be a virtual semi-final as Bangladesh are already knocked out of the tournament. However, even as India registered a convincing win in the end, there was a rather unusual discourse on the social media during India's batting innings in the game against Sri Lanka.
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With the batters unable to put a solid show in the middle, a section of fans – majorly from Pakistan – made a rather explosive claim on the game; they stated that India are intentionally playing badly to knock Pakistan out of the tournament. A win for Sri Lanka would've meant the end of road for Babar Azam's men in Asia Cup; needless to say, this claim was dismissed by a majority of fans on the internet and now, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar also lashed out at the rumour-mongers.
Taking to his official YouTube account, Akhtar expressed his bafflement at the conspiracy theory, insisting that the Sri Lankan bowlers bowled exceptionally well.
“I'm receiving messages that India have fixed the game, they're playing badly so that Pakistan get knocked out. Are you guys out of your minds? They're bowling their hearts out. Wellalage has bowled really well. He also scored 43. Suddenly, I'm receiving phone calls that India are losing so that Pakistan can get eliminated. Man, why would they lose? They could've reached the final with win, and they did. Absolute nonsense,” said Akhtar.
'Didn't see this fight in Pakistan'
Akhtar further stated that Pakistan, in comparison to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, didn't show a similar fight against India. Chasing a mammoth 357-run target, Pakistan were folded for merely 128.
"Great fightback from India. Kuldeep is an asset. Look at Jasprit Bumrah, look at the fight while defending such a small total.
“Wellalage, 20-year-old kid. He's bowling and batting as well. There's a fight there. I didn't see this fight in our players. See, you can't blame our fast bowlers. They don't play regular ODIs, and then, you expect Haris, Naseem, Shaheen to bowl 10 overs and not get injured. All I want is a fight from Asia Cup, at least chase 300 runs. Reach at least 275. You gave up too soon. That was humiliating,” said the former speedster.
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