R Ashwin to Lendl Simmons, Hardik Pandya to Tamim Iqbal and Jasprit Bumrah to Fakhar Zaman. Three knockout matches, three no-balls, three costly mistakes.
Ashwin's dismissal of Simmons off a no-ball allowed the West Indian to guide his team to victory over India in the World T20 semifinal. Had Simmons gone, India would have definitely won that match, and who knows what would have happed in the final, which would have been played at fortress Eden Gardens.
Pandya's dismissal of Tamim came a few days ago, in the semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy. It looked like being an extremely expensive one, but thanks to some good bowling from Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav and excellent batting from India's top three it proved to be one of those that India got away with.
With India bowling really well in the first couple of overs, the pressure had been piled on by Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and that pressure was rewarded with the wicket of Zaman, who edged one through to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni in the fourth over and when he was on just 3.
Marais Erasmus quickly said, "wait, wait, don't celebrate yet, because I want to check on the no-ball," and you could see why, with replays showing Bumrah comfortably overstepping his mark.
With that no-ball, Bumrah's confidence went for a vacation down the coast to Bournemouth and Zaman's found its way back home, with the Pakistan batsman cracking a smile at his slice of luck, almost as if he understood, this was going to be his day.
To make things worse, that no-ball seemed to also instil confidence in Azhar Ali a well, who went off Test mode and decided to get into his one-day groove.
India lost their lengths, forgot their plans and with R Ashwin bowling like he has done for a long while in coloured clothing – rubbish – the two Pakistan openers were able to get the run-scoring going with ease.
Even when Azhar Ali ran himself out, it did absolutely nothing to stop the runs. Zaman stepped up and smashed a few sixes – even Ravindra Jadeja went for plenty – and easy as pie he had his first ever one-day international hundred.
Zaman (114, 106b, 12x4, 3x6) would end his innings by scoring 111 more runs after he was given the gift by Bumrah and Pakistan had a tremendous launchpad to bat India out of the game. And bat them out they did.