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Asia Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya help Indian bowlers come a full circle against Pakistan

Dubai, Aug 28: Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar once again impressed with their bowling performance as the Indian cricket team bundled Pakistan out for 147 in their opening Asia Cup 2022 match here on Sunday (August 28).

Indian pace battery justified skipper Rohit Sharma's decision to invite Babar Azam to bat first in the highly-anticipated encounter as they picked up all ten wickets. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers for India as he returned with impressive figures of 4/26 from his quota of four overs.

The right-arm pacer proved why he's such a dangerous bowler with the new ball when he dismissed in-form Pakistan captain Babar Azam early and pushed the Men in Green on the backfoot. The seamer from Uttar Pradesh was economical, as usual, in the powerplays and came back strongly in the death overs to pick up three wickets in his second spell and ensured his team restrict the opposition inside 150.

Meanwhile, all-rounder Pandya too continued his imperious form with the ball and returned with the figures of 3/25 and decimated Pakistan's middle-order. The right-arm pacer took a leaf out of Bhuvneshwar's opening spell and made good use of the short-pitched delivery.

Hardik - who has been in prime form in 2022 - dismissed dangerous-looking Iftikhar Ahmed (28), Mohammed Rizwan (43), and Khushdil Shah (2). The Baroda cricketer made an immediate impact in the match and prevented the Pakistani middle-order from freeing their arms.

The young pace duo of Arshdeep Singh (2/33) and Avesh Khan (1/19) also did well as Indian pacers picked up all ten Pakistan wickets. It was almost a complete circle for the Indian bowlers as they failed to pick up any wicket when they last met Pakistan in the last match back in October 2021 during the ICC T20 World Cup at the same venue. Team India lost that match by 10 wickets as Pakistan's opening duo of Rizwan and Babar shared an unbeaten stand of 152.

Praising Pandya for his performance with the ball, veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter, "Hardik Pandya backs himself. When he is fit, he changes the balance of any team he is in! Magnificent today."

Bhogle also praised Bhuvneshwar for his effort in the match and tweeted, "Fantastic assessment of conditions, great skill, from Bhuvi. Difference between the T20 World Cup and now is his fitness and you can see the difference."

Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra called Hardik 24 carat gold and wrote, "A fit Hardik Pandya is 24 carat Gold. Key to India's fortunes in this format."

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Story first published: Sunday, August 28, 2022, 22:32 [IST]
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