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Asia Cup: India-Pakistan match halted in Colombo due to heavy rain; Rohit, Gill slam fifties (ld)


Colombo, Sep 10 (IANS) The India-Pakistan Super Four match in the Asia Cup has been temporarily halted due to heavy rain at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday. As of now, India are 147/2 in 24.1 overs, with captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill slamming 56 and 58 respectively.

Persistent rain had prevented a result when the two teams played in the league stage match in Pallekele on September 2. To avoid a washout of the India-Pakistan Super Four match, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) on Friday added a reserve day for Sunday’s match, which had a heavy rain forecast.

As per the revised playing conditions, if no more play happens on Sunday due to inclement weather, then the game will continue from the point of interruption with no overs lost. A minimum of 20 overs are needed to be bowled in both innings to achieve a result.

Before the rain started, Rohit and Gill put on a stunning exhibition of stroke play to pulverise the Pakistan bowlers in their 121-run opening partnership. Sharma set the tone for rattling Pakistan by flicking Shaheen Shah Afridi over square leg for a six on the last ball of the opening over.

Though the pitch had little movement to offer, Sharma and Gill were positive in their footwork and even danced down the pitch, which was reflected in their strokeplay too. After Sharma drove Naseem Shah through extra cover for four, Gill didn’t let Afridi settle with three scintillating boundaries in the arc from mid-off to fine leg.

Naseem was holding one end tight with his accurate line and length, even though Gill took three more boundaries off Afridi, who switched to round the wicket angle and sprayed it full in search of swing. Gill also had luck on his side, when an outside edge off Naseem went between two fielders at slips for a boundary.

Gill was a far different player from his struggles against the same bowling line-up last week, feasting on short balls from Faheem Ashraf and Haris Rauf to reach his fifty off just 37 balls.

Sharma overcame his slowdown period by flicking and pulling off Shah handsomely, before welcoming Rauf with his trademark pull to pile more pressure on Pakistan.

The introduction of spin didn’t give Pakistan the desired result as Sharma pulled Shadab Khan for back-to-back sixes, before cutting for four more to take 19 runs off the leg-spinner’s opening over.

Sharma would reach his fifty in style in just 42 balls, smacking Shadab over deep mid-wicket for six, followed by another cut going for four.

But Shadab bounced back in the 17th over, enticing Sharma to chip a leg-break over the off-side. The Indian skipper went for the loft but was caught by the long-off fielder running 10 metres to his left. One brought two for Pakistan as Gill chipped a slower delivery from Afridi to cover.

K.L. Rahul, playing in his first competitive game since May 1 after a long lay-off due to a right thigh injury, was splendid in his timing of pulling Afridi and Haris over mid-wicket for boundaries.

He and Virat Kohli were motoring at eight and 17 respectively before rain started pelting the stadium to temporarily stop the proceedings.

Brief scores:

India 147/2 in 24.1 overs (Shubman Gill 58, Rohit Sharma 56; Shaheen Shah Afridi 1-37, Shadab Khan 1-45) against Pakistan


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