Home Asia Cup 2023 Asia Cup 2023: India’s Battle With Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Left-Arm Pace

Asia Cup 2023: India’s Battle With Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Left-Arm Pace

Asia Cup 2023: India’s Battle With Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Left-Arm Pace

India’s ongoing struggle against left-arm pacers persisted in their high-stakes showdown with Pakistan at the Asia Cup 2023 in Kandy. Once more, Team India’s batsmen found themselves at the mercy of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s relentless onslaught, as he claimed four crucial wickets.

During the opening spell, Afridi dismissed the key figures of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and in the final stretch, he accounted for the scalps of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, preventing Team India from posting a formidable total in the Asia Cup league encounter.

This ordeal bore striking similarities to previous encounters, where India’s batsmen faltered against left-arm pacers. From Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup semifinals to Mohammed Amir in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final and Trent Boult in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup semifinals.

Not to forget Shaheen Afridi in the group stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup, Indian batters have been vulnerable against these bowlers, especially in the powerplay phase of the innings.

India’s Ongoing Struggle Against Shaheen Afridi’s Left-Arm Pace: A Closer Look

Shaheen Afridi India
Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

The Asia Cup unfolded in the same narrative, with Pakistan once again dealing India an early blow. Rohit Sharma, the skipper, was the first to fall, bowled out as he attempted to counter a quick delivery targeting the stumps. Rohit departed after scoring just 11 runs, leaving India at 15/1 after five overs.

Next in line was Virat Kohli, who displayed initial promise with his trademark cover drive but was undone by an inside edge that shattered the stumps. Kohli managed only a few runs before departing, leaving India at 27/2 in 6.3 overs.

Shreyas Iyer followed suit, making a promising start with two solid boundaries but falling victim to a short delivery, which Haris Rauf exploited to claim his wicket. Fakhar Zaman’s solid catch at deep mid-wicket left India reeling at 48 for 3 in 9.5 overs. India experienced yet another collapse against the new ball, raising questions about Rohit and Kohli’s ability to tackle left-arm pacers in the early stages.

Since 2021, Kohli has fallen to left-arm pacers on four occasions, accumulating a mere 87 runs off 98 balls at an average of 21.75 and a strike rate of 88.77 against them. In the same timeframe, skipper Rohit has been dismissed by left-arm pacers six times, scoring 138 runs off 147 balls at an average of 23, with a strike rate of 93.87.

Notably, four of these dismissals occurred within the first five overs. These statistics underscore India’s persistent vulnerability to the moving ball, particularly when facing left-arm pacers, a concern that continues to resurface in crucial matches.

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