Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan believes India could have done a few things differently after they received a hammering at the hands of Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
India could post an under-par score of 151 runs after Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled a match-winning spell of 3-31 and took the crucial wickets of Indian openers in the powerplay overs. On the other hand, Virat Kohli decided to open the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. Kumar conceded 10 runs in the first over and didn’t look at his best.
Jasprit Bumrah was given the ball in the third over and he conceded only four runs. Khan feels Kohli could have started with Bumrah and it would have put more pressure on the Pakistan openers, who got to play two overs before India’s best bowler was introduced to the attack.
In a discussion on Cricbuzz, the former pacer said: “You have your plans before the game, but once you are in the game, you’ve just got to go with it – maybe change certain things that you had planned. Maybe you could have used Bumrah differently. By the time the game finished, you had under-utilised Bumrah.”
“They could have gone for their trump card right up front rather than getting him into the game in the third over. Starting with him might have turned things around a bit.”
“But these are things in hindsight. At times, you stick to the strategy which you have made. I am sure the think-tank in the innings break would have thought about it and chosen otherwise. But who would have expected that the two openers would just carry the innings through.”
Furthermore, the dew factor also made it difficult for the Indian bowlers, and Pakistan openers were not troubled at all throughout the innings. The batting was relatively easy in the second innings and Pakistan was able to make the most of the conditions.
In fact, Pakistan was able to dominate from the get-go and they were the better team on the day. Thus, the Men in Green deserved to win and have got off to a perfect start.
“The dew factor did play a role. Having said that, when you know that dew is going to be a factor, you’ve got to have that extra cushion of 20-25 runs on the board, just to stay on top of things.”
“But today wasn’t the case. Right throughout the game, you saw Pakistan in control of the game. They showed the intent, and India was always trying to catch up in this particular game, which was pretty evident.”
India will face New Zealand on Sunday in their second game.