Naseem Shah inconsolable, Rohit Sharma, Shaheen Afridi gestures can't wipe tears after India beat Pakistan to go 7-1 up | Crickit
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Naseem Shah inconsolable, Rohit Sharma, Shaheen Afridi gestures can't wipe tears after India beat Pakistan to go 7-1 up

Jun 10, 2024 09:02 AM IST

Naseem Shah could not hold back tears as he failed to get Pakistan over the line against India. Even Shaheen and Rohit's gestures could not console him.

The stage was set. India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup match at a brand new venue of New York. And although the start was a bit of a dampener with rain forcing a delayed start and then causing a 20-minute interruption, the 'mother of all battles' lived up to its hype with India and Pakistan playing out an absolute nail-biter.

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, right, consoles batting partner Naseem Shah as they leave the field after their loss in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan(AP)
Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, right, consoles batting partner Naseem Shah as they leave the field after their loss in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan(AP)

Pakistan came close to ending their World Cup hoodoo against India, but in the end, the result was one that everyone expected. Rohit Sharma and his boys emerged toppers of Group A after India held their nerves and brilliantly defended 119 to pick up a narrow six-run win in a low-scoring thriller at New York's Nassau County Stadium on Sunday.

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Naseem Shah, who was left with an improbable task of getting 16 off the last 3 balls, swung his bat to the best of his might, but it wasn't to be. After a scoop shot for a four and another sliced boundary off the penultimate ball of the match bowled by Arshdeep Singh, 8 off 1 was game set and match in India's favour. And once the left-armer nailed the perfect yorker, guaranteeing India's win, the wave of emotions was too much for Naseem to come to terms with. Two years after he famously smoked consecutive sixes against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup to see his team over the line, Naseem couldn't get the job done, with disappointment rolling down his cheeks in the form of tears.

Naseem would be seen trying to hide them, despite Shaheen Afridi wrapping his arms around him and India captain Rohit patting him on the back for his efforts. But eventually, only one team reigned supreme, and last night it was Rohit's Team India.

At the half-way mark, all things looked headed towards 2-6 to Pakistan after India bottled their innings to be bowled out for 119. They were 89/3 at the half-way mark with Rishabh Pant looking set, but a stunning comeback from the Pakistan bowlers which triggered an India collapse of 7/30 with Naseem and Haris Rauf picking up three wickets each, supported by 2/23 from Mohammad Amir. However, India, in a bit of a topsy-turvy second innings, were able to pull off the lowest target successfully defended in the history of T20 World Cups, courtesy some Jasprit Bumrah magic.

Watch Naseem Shah in tears below:

The Indian pacer, coming off a Player of the Match-winning performance against Ireland, bagged another such award for bowling a spell for the ages. Bumrah's 3/14 was the key difference for India, as he saw off Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed to choke Pakistan's bowling. 120 wasn't a tough target. Yes, the outfield was heavy, but with the sun beating down, the moisture in the pitch that supported the Pakistan bowlers was drying at the rate of knots. A run-a-ball target is something you would assume a batting side can chase down, right?

Here's how Rohit consoled Naseem after Pakistan's defeat:

BUZZER! Wrong, said Bumrah, who gave India their first breakthrough through the wicket of captain Babar, and then by cleaning up Rizwan, who had batted painfully for a 44-ball 31. That Pakistan played 59 dot balls provided decisive, along with Hardik Pandya's 2/24 and the invaluable 16 runs added with the bat by Mohammad Siraj and Arshdeep. Hardik bounced out Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan to pick up two crucial wickets as India slow-cooked Pakistan's batting and crawled their way back into the game.

How India applied the choke

Fakhar cracked a six and a four to declare his intent, and Imad Wasim struggled to connect bat to ball. Axar's three consecutive dots to Imad in the 16th over was the beginning of the end for Pakistan. Bumrah returned for a final roll of the dice, getting Iftikhar to top edge a full-toss. Arshdeep and Suryakumar Yadav almost had a Kaif-Badani moment from 2004, but no harm was done.

To say that India's win is as big as Melbourne 2022 shouldn't be an exaggeration. At one stage, the win predictor read 92 percent in favour of Pakistan and 8 percent, India, especially given how the first innings panned out. India were on course to finish with at least 160, the nature of the pitch notwithstanding. Rohit and Virat Kohli were out cheaply but Pant's electric 42 off 31 balls and Axar Patel's 20 off 18 after a batting promotion had opened the floodgates, but credit to Pakistan's pacers for exploiting the conditions brilliantly. If only their batters could have emulated half the effort of their bowlers.

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