When Avesh Khan was brought in to bowl the crucial sixth over in India’s Asia Cup 2022 opener vs Pakistan, there were some frowns in the commentary box and tense living rooms in India. Those deepened as Khan, 14 T20 matches old, gave away 11 runs in the first three deliveries, balls two and three dispatched disdainfully for a six and a four by Mohammad Rizwan.
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The fifth delivery brought Fakhar Zaman. back on strike on a single. On the sixth, Fakhar was gone.
After a crunch powerplay, Pakistan were 43/2.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s short ball got rid of Babar Azam early in the game. Zaman and opener Rizwan, looking to settle down, were knocking the Indian bowlers around the Dubai International Stadium. And Rohit Sharma decided to give his new ball pacers, Bhuvi and Arshdeep Singh some rest, handing Avesh Khan his first over.
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The 25-year-old started off with a 142 kmph full ball, which was played towards square leg for a single. His next delivery was smashed for a maximum over deep mid-wicket. Rizwan then smashed an attempted yorker for a boundary. Avesh Khan was under pressure.
Many questioned Sharma’s decision to introduce Khan.
“Captain Rohit should have sticked (sic) with his best bowler Bhuvi instead of giving balll to Avesh,” Pakistan legend Wasim Akram said in the commentary box.
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“Some say Kohli is run machine. Some say Babar is run machine. But deep down we all know Avesh Khan is run machine,” a Twitter user said.
Avesh Khan, a right-arm fast medium bowler, has bowled at an economy of 8.85 in his T20I career. His average of 30.25 is not impressive. However, just when he was under pressure, the pacer went short and dismissed Zaman.
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The batter was taken by surprise. The ball, pitched outside off, bounced a bit extra and Zaman could not cut it over the backward point fielder. He got a faint tickle and Dinesh Karthik, behind the stumps, took a catch.
The Indian team and umpire looked confused. However, Fakhar Zaman decided to walk off. He scored 10 runs off six balls with the help of two boundaries.