India 82 for 1 (Rohit 39, Yuvraj 25*) beat UAE 81 for 9 (Shaiman 43, Bhuvneshwar 2-8) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffocated UAE with returns of 4-2-8-2 © AFP
India versus UAE was a no contest. There was precious little intent from the UAE batsmen and all India had to do was go through the motions to gain a nine-wicket victory. It was India’s biggest win in T20Is in terms of balls remaining.
There was nothing riding on this game, except perhaps the opportunity for UAE’s batsmen to salvage some pride – putting up 81 for 9 suggests they didn’t accomplish that – and a chance for India to test their bench ahead of the final here and the World T20 back home. Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and debutant Pawan Negi sent down 11 overs and picked up four wickets for only 35 runs between them.
MS Dhoni, the India captain, had hoped to bat first at the toss in the hopes of getting his batsmen geared towards setting a total and his side may have felt a little more pressure too. UAE’s seam attack has managed to trouble every team in the tournament so far. Mohammad Naveed lent weight to that when he had Shikhar Dhawan nicking off in his second over, but umpire Sharfuddoula did not spot it. Rohit then got a series of boundaries away to set India on course in their 82-run chase, and even if he did hole out for 39 off 28 balls, it almost ended up helping India because they could give Yuvraj Singh some more time in the middle. He slammed a four to finish on 25 off 14 balls and seal victory with nine wickets and 59 balls to spare.
The match was like a lullaby. India, who were asked to bowl, began with two maidens in the first three overs and UAE could only get one run. The usually lively Shere Bangla stadium was fast asleep.
Bhuvneshwar struck in his second over, getting makeshift opener Swapnil Patil to lob a catch at him. Jasprit Bumrah, from the other end, chipped in with an early wicket as well when he had Mohammad Shahzad, the No. 3 batsman who showed little footwork, edging to second slip. Suresh Raina plucked a simple enough chance over his head, but the next time the ball headed his way, it burst through his grasp. Rohan Mustafa was the batsman flashing outside his off stump, and Bhuvneshwar, the bowler, had conceded his first runs after 13 deliveries.
Twenty-six of the first 36 balls – the Powerplay – were dots. And the progression continued: 44 of the first 60 and finally 77 of the entire 120. UAE racked up 72 dot balls against Pakistan on this very pitch on Monday.
Negi was brought into the attack in the 13th over and though there was no real pressure on him, he began with a half-tracker that was pulled for a couple. His second ball was a dart down leg that was swiped for four. He managed to get his first international wicket off his fifth ball, though, as Mohammad Usman scooped a catch to Harbhajan at long-off. Negi was there waiting to return the favour in the next over when Harbhajan tempted Amjad Javed into flicking uppishly towards midwicket. UAE were 57 for 5 in 15 overs.
Besides the lack of intent in their batting, UAE betrayed their standing as amateur cricketers with a silly run-out. Fahad Tariq, who came out at No. 7, pushed Negi on to the off side and set off for a single without realising the left-arm spinner only had to move a couple of steps to get to the ball. Shaiman Anwar had seen that and said no, but Tariq had charged too far down to have any hope.
An even sillier run-out was in the offing when Mohammad Naveed, unaware the throw was coming towards his end, barely made an attempt to reach his ground. MS Dhoni whipped the bails off and had a rather amused smile on his face as he gestured to his team-mates that Naveed had only plonked his bat down rather than slide it through. The third umpire was called, and replays revealed the tailender had got in by a thin margin.
Anwar cobbled together 43 off 48 balls, but he was only one of two batsmen who could manage double-digits and UAE finished their Asia Cup by recording the second-worst total ever in T20Is by any team after batting their full quota of overs and not being all out.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo