Dubai, Sep 5: The second installment of the India and Pakistan rivalry in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 lived up to its billings as it again turned out to be a nail-biting contest, which the Babar Azam-led side won by 5 wickets on Sunday (September 4).
The high-scoring game turned out to be another edge-of-the-seat match as the winners were decided in the final over of the match. With some good individual performances from both teams, it was Mohammad Rizwan who scored 71 runs off 51 balls that propelled Pakistan to victory.
Star India batter Virat Kohli's fluent half-century in the game and young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi's performance with the ball were big takeaways for the Rohit Sharma-led side.
Lauding Kohli's performance in a high-pressure game, Gambhir said with his second consecutive fifty in the tournament the 34-year-old top-order batter has found his form back. Gambhir - who played a crucial part in Team India's title triumphs in T20 WC in 2007 and 2011 ODI WC - also praised the batting approach of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Speaking on Star Sports show 'Follow the Blues', Gambhir added that Kohli's form is a sign of good things to come.
"Very good, in fact, Virat Kohli looked very very good, I loved the approach of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul followed by Suryakumar Yadav, Hooda; all those guys played well but Virat Kohli was good, so you got to give it to him, coming back after the way he batted in the first and second game just showed that probably he got that confidence back especially today; looked really good and I hope he continues this form," Gambhir said.
Young India bowlers tried their best to keep Pakistan at bay as performances from Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh left everyone impressed. Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan spoke about India's bowling performance and how he was impressed with the youngsters in the game.
Pathan said, "As far as the bowling is concerned, obviously this bowling unit needs to get better in many departments but I thought in the first half they bowled really well and Bishnoi, specially Bishnoi playing his first game that too against Pakistan in this Asia Cup, there was a lot of pressure. But the way he handled the power play and got the prize wicket of Babar Azam it was fantastic to see. It is not easy, the pressure on the Indian bowlers during the game against Pakistan is a lot and Bishnoi has handled the pressure very well."
Pathan - the left-arm pacer - also commended Rohit Sharma's captaincy during the game and was impressed with how he rotated the bowlers and utilised the spinners at the right moments, he said "A captain can be tested on two things, especially how he handles the bowler, especially when the bowlers are new and when you are defending too. These two times you get to realise and I have seen time and again Rohit Sharma is a fantastic leader. He manages the bowlers really well, he knows when to play which bowler. Made Bishnoi bowl an over during the power play, he had taken a wicket but he still kept him waiting, did not let him bowl another over, and got him again after Chahal's over as he knows Bishnoi is a different kind of bowler, not a typical leg spin bowler, doesn't bowl side arm so it was difficult for Pakistan to read his bowling style that is why he had given just 8 runs off his first two overs. Rohit Sharma manages the team very well and I hope that when the whole team is back, having Bumrah, and Harshal Patel we'll get to see a better performance from team India which we want to see especially if you see it from the lens of the World Cup."
Having lost their first game of the Super 4 stage, Team India will have to win the remaining two i.e. against a resurgent Sri Lanka and a vitriolic Afghanistan to secure a spot in the final.