Heavy rain ensured that the ad hoc allocation of a reserve day for the Asia Cup Super 4 match between India and Pakistan turned out to be more than just a contingency plan, with the marquee match-up being pushed into a second day.
It took two spells of rain – the first shortly before 5 pm, which was hard enough to cause a delay of more than three and a half hours, and the second just when the match was slated to resume at around 9 pm – for match-officials to call off play today, triggering the option of a reserve day and allowing the two teams to continue a full 50-over game on Monday.
When rain halted play, India were 147 for 2 in 24.1 overs, propelled by half-centuries from their openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.
India’s innings upto that point could essentially be broken into two parts – before and after the first drinks break, taken at the end of the 16th over.
Before the break, the Indian openers dominated, needing just 80 balls to reach the 100-run mark.
While Sharma and Gill had an equal share of the strike in the first ten overs, there was a vast difference in how each utilized it – the latter showing more aggression, racing to 41 off his first 30 balls and striking nine boundaries, half a dozen of which came off the bowling of Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, was on 18 at the end of the Powerplay, even enduring a 16-ball spell without a run.
The pair scored 61 in the first 10 overs with the next six proving almost as profitable, when Sharma became the aggressor.
The Indian captained hammered 38 off the next 18 balls he faced, taking three sixes and two fours over Shadab Khan’s first two overs.
Gill meanwhile, added 14 facing as many deliveries, as India reached the drinks break on 118 for no loss, having had complete control of exchanges up to then.
Reinvigorated, perhaps by the words spoken as the team huddled together during the drinks break, Pakistan then roared back into the game four balls into the restart, as Sharma picked out Faheem Ashraf at long-on and Afridi accounted for Gill in the next over.
In a partnership of a completely different tempo, as the Pakistani bowlers tightened things up, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul put on an unbroken 24-run stand in 38 deliveries before rain pushed play into today.
(Pix: Kushan Pathiraja)