Virat Kohli in action versus Pakistan in Asia Cup 2016 match at Dhaka © AFP
Virat Kohli in action versus Pakistan in Asia Cup 2016 match at Dhaka © AFP

Finally, India and Pakistan met on the cricket field after months of never-ending drama outside it, and dished out a game that will be remembered for time to come. Pakistan’s batting flopped, Indian bowlers continued to take giant strides, Mohammad Aamer showed what the cricket world missed in last 5 years, and Virat Kohli played perhaps his finest knock in T20 International cricket. India won the low-scoring thriller by 5 wickets, and Kohli was the star with a ridiculously skilful 51-ball 49. But the innings was well supported by an elementary mistake made by Pakistan that Bangladesh never made. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2016, Match 4 at Dhaka

Indian bowlers were mightily impressive as they bowled out Pakistan for mere 83, not allowing their opponents to take any advantage ahead of their next meet, in the ICC World T20 2016 on March 19. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli’s 49, Mohammad Aamer’s 3-18, and other highlights from 2nd innings

The next time when these two teams will face off, the memories of Indian bowlers running through the Pakistani batting and Mohammad Aamer tormenting the Indians on a green-top wicket will come to fore. But we can assume an ICC contest will not have a bowlers-friendly wicket, as things stand today.  ALSO READ – India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2016: Virat Kohli’s greatest T20I knock?

In the first match of the tournament, Bangladesh tried to emulate Sri Lanka’s win over India at Pune recently, and they dished out a wicket with lot of grass over it. Bangladesh tried to leave no stone unturned; they roped in as many as four fast bowlers whom they thought were enough to tame India.

Bangladesh succeeded to an extent: they had India struggling at 22 for 2, and did not allow Virat Kohli to drive through cover. Kohli kept looking for runs, but did not find any. Kohli finally caved in when he came down to clear the in-field, hitting on the up and finding the fielder near the edge of the circle.

Pakistan too were presented somewhat same scenario. Kohli walked out when India were already in pressure, and they had a bowler in Aamer steaming in and looking like he would take a wicket every ball. But Kohli resisted, and waited for the lose ones. Pakistan budged, and thus, ended up losing all the ground that Aamer had helped them cover.

Under tremendous pressure, Kohli and India breathed comfortably only in the seventh over when the batsman hit two boundaries off Aamer. Understandably, Aamer had fizzled out a bit after three complete overs of high intensity, and he needed someone to take charge from there on.

Wahab Riaz was Pakistan’s biggest bet after Aamer, but when the Shane-Watson-tormentor from ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 came to bowl, he made the mistake which should not have. The first ball — hurled at 150 kmph — was in the zone and Kohli cracked it through cover for four. The third ball, in the zone, saw Kohli hitting the finest of cover drives, by just opening the face of the bat. From there on, Kohli capitalised, and we all know players of such stature rarely let the opportunities slip through their hands.

Riaz and Pakistan could have followed Bangladesh’s strategy, but unfortunately they did not. That was where the game turned in India’s favour, and there was no coming back from Pakistan after India collected 15 runs off the ninth over in the game, which set the tone.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)