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September 24, 2018

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Dhawan, Sharma hit tons as India beat Pakistan in Dubai

DUBAI: For the second time in five days, India thrashed Pakistan with an enviable ease and in the process almost secured their place in the final of the Asia Cup.

The much-hyped Super Fours game at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday turned out to be a damp squib as India crushed Pakistan by nine wickets – their second consecutive win against their arch-rivals. Earlier in a Pool A game on Wednesday at the same venue the Indians had steamrolled Pakistan by eight wickets.

Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma made short work of Pakistan after the Indians had restricted their opponents to 237-7. The duo piled up 210 from 33.3 overs to deal Pakistan a killer punch.

Pakistan’s bowling attack is regarded among the most potent in international cricket but on Sunday it lacked sting. Mohammad Amir, who returned to the line-up after getting dropped for the previous game against Afghanistan failed to fire again and so did the rest of the attack.

The Dhawan-Sharma partnership rode roughshod, hitting boundaries almost at will. Dhawan was the only man to fall, getting run out but by then the job was almost finished. He smashed 114 from just 100 balls with two sixes and 16 fours. Sharma was as fluent as ever and remained unbeaten at 111 from 119 balls with four sixes and seven fours. The Indians won with 63 balls to spare.

The defeat means that Pakistan now a must-win situation ahead of their last Super Fours game – against Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.Earlier, Pakistan’s batting failed to rise to the occasion yet again. Looking to avenge their eight-wicket thrashing at the hands of India at the same venue last week, Pakistan opted to bat first but were unable to break through the shackles despite a sparkling 90-ball 78 from Shoaib Malik.From start to finish, the Indian bowlers lead by Jasprit Bumrah, held the upper hand as Pakistan struggled to keep the scoreboard moving and in the end could just post 237-7 on a wicket that hardly hid any demons.

Once again, Pakistan displayed this inability to rotate the strike early on and then failed to make up for it in the final overs of their innings in this crucial Super Fours game of the Asia Cup.

Even a 107-run partnership for the fourth wicket featuring Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed (44 from 66 balls) proved insufficient as they could get just 68 runs from the last 10 overs. With Bumrah bowling one perfect Yorker after another the final five overs could fetch just 26 runs for the Pakistanis. Chahal took 2-38 in his nine overs while Bumran finished with 2-29 in his 10 overs.

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