The Pakistani skipper, Misbah-Ul-Haq hailed the performance of Indian batsmen and especially Virat Kohli who let them down by 6 wickets in the Asia Cup 2012.
The Blue Shirts batting tore apart the excellent looking bowling attack of the Green Shirts and put them in the corner by surpassing their mammoth total of 329 runs with 13 balls to spare.
Pakistan strengthened their bowling by adding Wahab Riaz keeping in view his five wickets haul in the semi final against India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Both teams faced each other on March 30, 2011, at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh on that occasion.
India was doing well and had reached 141 runs for the loss of two wickets when Wahab Riaz struck back as Virat Kohli was caught by Umar Akmal for 9 runs on the second ball of the 26th over. He clean bowled the man in form, Yuvraj Singh on the very next ball and ended up with a match figure of 5 for 46 in 10 overs.
The fast bowler was inducted in the important match against India as he had lot of confidence prior to the encounter. The Blue Shirts were struggling after losing Gautam Gambhir on the second ball of the innings but Kohli had some other plans in mind when he went in to bat next.
He became the pillar of victory for the nation and shared a couple of excellent and match winning partnerships. The entire batting revolved around him as he associated 133 runs for the second wicket with Sacin Tendulkar and blasted 172 runs with Rohit Sharma. He had done his homework prior to the match and negotiated all Pakistani bowlers at their merit.
The vice captain Kohli, was severe on Wahab Riaz who was butchered for 50 runs in just four overs, Umar Gul conceded 65 from 8.5 overs, Aizaz Cheema was slapped for 60 from 8, Shahid Afridi 58 off 9. Pakistani supreme bowler, Saeed Ajmal was expensive also as he was punished for 49 from 9 as Mohammad Hafeez proved to be the most economical with 42 from 9 overs at an econmy rate of 4.66.
Virta Kohli hammered all bowlers at will and thrashed 183 from just 148 deliveries which was powered by one six and 22 sweetly timed fours. Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma assisted him well while securing their ends and contributed 52 and 68 runs respectively.
The current bowling attack of Pakistan has been doing wonders for a while and Misbah was confident that they could protect the hefty total of 329 runs with the inclusion of Wahab Riaz. However it proved to be a dismal day for their world class bowlers and they suffered against India. Misbah said,
“We planned to bat first so we strengthened our bowling. His [Riaz] confidence was good; he took five wickets against India. We took him on that, but sometimes your decisions don’t pay off. It was a bad day for him. I think our bowling has won us a lot of games. If you look at the performance in the last year and a half, they have done really well. It was a test against India.”
Misbah complimented his batsmen for piling up a total of 329 runs which was not an easy target anyway but hailed the Indian batsmen who were so aggressive that Pakistani bowers had no answer to their onslaught. He then commented,
“I think 329 is not a bad total. When you try to score 350-370, even making 329 is difficult. With our bowling, 325-330 was our target. I think it was a good total but the way they played, we didn’t have any answers.”