Mohammad Nawaz was sent up the order vs India. The 27-year-old all-rounder, who usually bats in the lower-middle, was described as a ‘nothing-to-lose’ batsman by cricket expert and commentator Harsha Bhogle. He counter-attacked the Indian bowlers and took Babar Azam and co closer to India’s 181-run total at the Dubai International Stadium.
Nawaz was sent to bat at No 4 when Pakistan were 63/2 after 8.4 overs. The all-rounder made 42 runs off 20 balls with the help of six boundaries and two maximums. His efforts took the team to 136 runs in 15.3 overs.
Mohammad Nawaz was ultimately dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The hard-hitter tried flat-batting a slower, outside off, back of a length ball by the Indian seamer over long-off. However, he mistimed it for Deepak Hooda to take a catch at the boundary.
While Nawaz could not take Pakistan home, his innings did put Rohit Sharma and co under pressure. India were dominating the match all-through the first 10 overs. They had kept their opponents quiet and the required run rate was rising.
Then came Nawaz. The 27-year-old kept attacking Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi in the middle-overs. Meanwhile, his innings also gave Mohammad Rizwan enough time to settle down at the other end.
Rizwan scored 71 runs in 51 balls before Pandya dismissed him with a slower ball floated up outside off. Pakistan were 148/4 after 17 overs. They needed 34 runs in 18 balls to win the match.
“Give credit to the management for letting Nawaz bat at this stage. Professional decision,” a Twitter user said.
“LOVE IT. India outfoxed in this phase. They think Nawaz was sent to hit spinners, his strongest aspect is to hit pacers. He can hit spin but pace is his much more favoured matchup,” another one said.
“Entire Pakistan supporting Nawaz for a change. #Cricket #PAKvIND,” a third one tweeted.