India endured a five-wicket defeat against rivals Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday. Batting first the Men In Blue put up a stiff 181/7 on the board and in response Babar Azam and co chased down the target with one ball to spare. Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz emerged as the star performers from the Pakistan camp, while India rejoiced a superb batting show by Virat Kohli, who scored 60 off 44 balls.
Sharing his views on the encounter, India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara felt that the management should have opted for an extra bowler instead of relying completely on Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder, who was named Player of the Match in the previous encounter against Pakistan, was a complete flop on Sunday. He failed to open his account and with the ball he conceded 44 runs in his quota and picked one wicket.
“Hardik has been bowling well, but we can’t consider him a fifth bowler. I think expecting four overs from him every time is not correct. However, we didn’t have enough choices because Avesh Khan was ill. In the future, there might be a few changes in the team, and if Hardik continues to play the role of the sixth bowler, it would be better,” Pujara noted during an interaction on ESPNCricinfo.
He also lauded Pakistan’s strategy to promote Nawaz up the batting order, which Pujara feels was the “X-factor” in the contest. Rizwan and Nawaz combined to hit the Indian bowlers for 73 runs in just 35 balls, which gave Pakistan upper hand during the run chase.
Rizwan scored 71 off 51 balls, while Nawaz’s 20-ball cameo saw the batter smash 42 runs at a staggering strike-rate of 210.
“I think Pakistan played very well, especially Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz’s promotion in the batting order. He played with a good strike rate which played an X-factor for Pakistan. Our bowling could have been better, but I feel that we could have scored 15-20 more runs on this wicket. It was 190-200 wickets. We didn’t bat well during the middle overs,” the India batter added.