Sloppy fielding and wayward bowling let Pakistan down in the crucial match of the Asia Cup against arch-rivals India at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.

Pakistan were depending on their bowling but bowlers disappointed the fans as they were looking for good show from them and expecting victory against arch-rivals, who are continuously refusing to play against Pakistan in Pakistan or at other neutral venue. Umar Akmal floored a catch of Virat Kohli at the earlier stage of his innings of the bowling of Aizaz Cheema that proved costly for Pakistan. Kohli scored career-best score (183) and snatched the match from Pakistan.

Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar steadied their innings after early shock of Gambhir as Hafeez provided immediate breakthrough in his first over. Sachin and Kohli added 132 runs for the second wicket and put their team on track by scoring runs in singles and doubles to maintain the required run rate. After Tendulkar’s departure, Kohli took the charge and with Rohit Sharma kept India on track. In the meantime Kohli completed his maiden century against Pakistan in his first appearance against arch-rivals. This was Kohli’s overall 11th one-day century. He fell prey to Umar Gul. He, with Rohit Sharma (88), 172 runs and eased pressure from Indian side.

Though Gul struck two blows to India but that was too late, as India achieved the target in 48 overs and won by six wickets. Indian batsmen proved their mettle and went on to chase target successfully while Pakistan bowling failed to deliver what was nation expecting from them.  Wahab Riaz looked short of match practice and failed to make his presence in the match and bowled waywardly.

Indian batsmen should be praised for their batting consistency for achieving the win that was vital for their survival in the Asia Cup. Earlier, Nasir and Hafeez laid the foundation for Pakistan with scintillating centuries by putting 224 runs for the first wicket against arch-rivals India after opting to bat first. Nasir Jamshed (112) and Hafeez (105) kept Indian bowlers at bay and scored runs at their will.

Pakistan included five bowlers and six batsmen in their squad while Sarfraz Ahmed was shown the way out and pacer Wahab included to boost Pakistan bowling.

Pakistan batsmen maintained the tempo of the match which was set by Nasir and Hafeez. Younus Khan, usually not one to worry attacks at the death, smashed 52 off 34 deliveries to lift Pakistan to their second-highest total against India.

India bowlers failed to contain Hafeez and Jamshed as the pair stroked boundaries at their will.

The previous best opening stand for Pakistan against India was 144 between Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar in 1996. Hafeez and Jamshed soon got to their centuries, Jamshed's being his maiden one in ODIs.

Shahid Afridi joined 7000 one-day runs elite club and became the sixth Pakistani player to achieve this feat. Afridi look off-colour during the match and failed leave any impression with his batting or bowling.  At that stage it was felt that Pakistan will score 350 plus runs but Indian bowlers shattered Pakistan hopes of reaching to 350 runs and they were restricted to 329 nearly 40 runs short of the victory target due to brilliant fielding. Tendulkar had to leave the field in the 26th over after hurting his finger while trying to take a return-catch from Jamshed but floored the catch. Jamshed hit Praveen out of the attack, taking him for three fours in four deliveries with well-balanced clips.

In the last ten overs India snatched the initiative from Pakistan and did not allow batsmen to score freely. In the process to maintain the tempo Pakistan lost four wickets for just over 50 runs. Kumar bowled superbly in his last spell and got two wickets at the crucial stage of the match when Pakistan were looking to score quick runs.