India hammer listless UAE

India hammer listless UAE

Dhoni's men wrap up group phase with a resounding 9-wicket victory

India hammer listless UAE

India’s bench strength finally got a look in but that didn’t stop the former champions from powering themselves to nine-wicket victory in the inconsequential Asia Cup T20 contest at Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Thursday.

Verteran Ashish Nehra, offie R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja made way for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pawan Negi and Harbhajan Singh. Negi finally got to make his T20 international debut for India before the players from the two sides observed a minute’s silence on the demise of former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe. India would now be meeting the home side Bangladesh in the final here on Sunday.

The new line-up didn’t compromise the intensity of India’s charge. UAE were restricted for a mere 81/9 in thier 20 overs after deciding to bat with each Indian bowler grabbing a wicket. In reply, India chased the total comfortably. The only casualty for the men in blue came in form of Rohit Sharma who stroked a breezy 39 off 28 balls.

Shikhar Dhawan (16 n.o.) and Yuvraj Singh (25 n.o.) -- once again giving glimpse of fluent stroke making -- covered the rest of the target with ease, with 59 balls remaining.

The pitch had a tinge of grass and India’s new ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah made the most of it. Bhuvneshwar (2-8) was particularly impressive. He bowled two back to back maidens, dismissing wicket-keeper batsman Swapnil Patil on the way. He had bowled nine dots and Patil -- eager to break the shackles -- went to flick his incoming delivery. The result was an edge which Bhuvneshwar caught comfortably to trigger the collapse.

In the next over, Bumrah sent back Mohammad Shahzad at duck, his nick landing straight to Raina at the second slip. Shaiman Anwar (43) once again did the bulk of scoring the way he did against Pakistan but never got enough support from others.

Hardik Pandya joined the party when Rohan Miustafa’s hit his short delivery straight into the welcoming palms of Virat Kohli at cover before Mohammad Usman became Negi’s first international victim.

UAE were now reduced to 51/4 in 13th over with Anwar waging a lone fight. He lifted some gloom with his three boundaries and a straight six off Bumrah. However, the Emirati was left stranded as his teammates made hurried exits. Captain Amjad  Javed, too, couldn’t dig in his heels. Yuvraj then joined the wicket-takers list when he dismissed Mohammad Kaleem. Kaleem tried to slog Yuvraj but Pandya once again attested his merits as an outstanding fielder. He sprinted from long-on, threw himself forward on the ball and took a terrific low catch, just inches from the turf.  It drew appreciation from the sparse crowd at the stands who were rooting for the UAE.

Anwar’s innings was cut short by a run out. He was eager to take the strike and set off even when Ahmed Raza couldn’t connect to Bhuvneshwar’s delivery.

It was the penultimate ball of the innings and UAE couldn’t add more. At the end their target proved was too small for India’s strong batting line-up.

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