Given the history of Dubai and the presence of grass on the field, India had a good chance of winning the toss. They anticipated swing, but none materialised. Bhuvneshwar Kumar surprised Babar Azam with a bouncer while there was still seam movement available. Although the third and fine legs were both inside the circle, the line was wide, so Babar had to go get it. He only succeeded in catching a top edge with a short, fine leg.
Avesh Khan recovered from a six and a four with another short ball that took the top edge from a Fakhar Zaman cut, just as Pakistan tried to maximise the last powerplay over. Pakistan had already lost the game when they were 43 for 2.
Mohammad Rizwan was trailing by a run for every ball because he simply couldn't adapt to the field. He had trouble timing any of his big-hit attempts. Even though it was not his strong suit to bat against spinners, Iftikhar Ahmed still managed to score 28 runs off of 22 in a 45-run partnership.
Pakistan needed to move quickly with eight overs left in the innings. At this point, Hardik returned and began to bowl with enormous speed and bounce. Iftikhar took a top edge on the hook with the first ball because it was simply too high and fast for him. Rizwan and Khushdil Shah were both eliminated by Hardik with a short ball in the 15th over, bringing the score to 103 for 5.
Bhuvneshwar's pinpoint knuckle balls then reduced Pakistan to 128 for 9, but Shahnawaz Dahani and Rauf still managed to score 29 runs off 13 balls combined. Dahani hit a hook to a slower bouncer and two beautiful sixes, one over long-on and the other over midwicket.
India's innings went off to a chaotic start. With the second ball of his T20I career, Naseem asked KL Rahul to continue playing. At second slip, Virat Kohli was then dismissed for a duck. Edges crossed over the wicket. Rohit Sharma had the slowest powerplay of a T20I match as he kept getting outmuscled on the outside edge. While the ball continued to bounce around, Kohli produced a beautiful front-foot draw over wide mid-on and a back-foot punch in between. At 38 for 1, when the powerplay was over, Pakistan was still in the game.
The Men in Blues then thought of building a match winning partnership which only ended in throwing the heart and soul of Indian cricket's wickets. As Rohit and Virat both got out in similar fashion and India were in trouble until Hardik and Jadeja stood up to showcase their class.
It was evident that Pakistan was going to try their best bets first when Naseem started the 18th. But Naseem's cramps got so bad they were incapacitating. Despite hardly being able to charge in, he only allowed five runs off the first four balls. He was almost successful in lbwing Jadeja, but the batter successfully appealed the ruling. When Jadeja timed him over long-on for a six, it was the decisive blow.
Then, rather than muscling them, Hardik employed the extra fielder to set his boundaries. India needed just seven runs to win in Nawaz's over after three fours in the 19th over. Jadeja was bowled while attempting to play the slog-sweep in the final twist, which reduced the number of runs needed to six off the final three. Karthik has an average record against spin, so Pakistan had a chance if they could keep Hardik off the strike. To win the match for India, Hardik calmly struck a flat six over wide long-on.
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