India, as expected, did not have any trouble in defeating UAE at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Thursday. The win was set by the India bowlers, who dismissed the UAE for a paltry score of 81 runs, which was chased by India with ease. They reached the target in the 11th over, winning the game by nine wickets.
Chasing such a total was never going to worry the India batting line up, which includes Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj SIngh and Shikhar Dhawan. The UAE were unfortunate after Shikhar, who had edged the ball early on, was not given out by the umpire. The left-hander was not comfortable against the UAE bowlers, but his opening partner Rohit was in ominous form.
Rohit played shots all around the park to provide India a great start, attacking the UAE bowlers. He was severe on anything that was wide or short as he punished such balls with ridiculous ease. Rohit was keen to finish the game early for India, but lost his wicket in the 6th over after scoring 39 runs from 28 balls.
MS Dhoni also used this match, ahead of the Asia Cup final, to promote Yuvraj Singh at the top of the order. He replaced Rohit in the middle, and started to play some glorious shots. There was an element of confidence in his batting as the left-hander thrashed the UAE bowlers, and finished the game in the 11th over with a boundary. Yuvraj scored a quickfire 14-ball 25. Shikhar, on the other hand, remained unbeaten on 16 runs.
Surprisingly earlier, UAE, who had won the toss, decided to bat after winning the toss in a pitch, which has always -- in Asia Cup 2016 -- assisted the bowlers with the new ball. Their batsmen did not do any justice to their captain's call of batting first as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Right from the start, India bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah – were spot on, bowling at the right areas, making good use of the pitch as well. Kumar was exceptional, starting with two maidens on a trot along with a wicket in his first spell. Overall, he took two wickets.
UAE were in trouble early on as they lost their first two wickets for two runs and their score soon read 25 runs for 3 wickets. There was no looking back for India as all the bowlers managed to take a wicket, atleast. Debutant Pawan Negi also managed to impress with the ball in his first match, taking one wicket. Harbhajan Singh, who also got his first chance to play in the Asia Cup, managed to grab a wicket.
Besides Shaiman Anwar, who scored 48 runs, none of the UAE batsmen were able to handle the India bowlers as they were tottering at 53 for 5 in the 14th over. Anwar, who had come to bat at number four, did not find any support from the other hand to help UAE come up with a respectable total.
However, the right-hander played an important role in helping the UAE reach a total of 81 runs. His 48-ball 43 runs comprised 3 fours and a six. Had it not been for Anwar, their score would have been even poor.
India's performance in the Asia Cup has been phenomenal. They have not lost a single game in the competition and are also huge favourites to lift the title when India face Bangladesh in the Asia Cup final, Sunday.
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