The stage is set for the India-Pakistan Asia Cup Super Four clash in Colombo, and all eyes are on how India’s batsmen will tackle Pakistan’s pace spearhead, Shaheen Shah Afridi. Afridi’s remarkable performance in their previous encounter, where he took 4-35 to dismantle India for 266, has put him in the spotlight. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has provided his valuable insights into how India’s top order should brace themselves for the upcoming showdown.

__ “Pakistan have a sensational pace attack. The wonderfully nasty Haris Rauf; Shaheen Afridi, collector of toes and Naseem Shah, the boy from Lower Dir with an action from the gods.”

Senior Sports Journalist Barney Ronay about Pakistan’s pace trio. (The Guardian)_
— Himanshu Pareek (@Sports_Himanshu) September 9, 2023

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The Battle: Shaheen Afridi vs. India’s Top Three

Sanjay Manjrekar emphasized, “Actually, the match between India and Pakistan was a very interesting clash between Shaheen Afridi versus India’s 1, 2, and 3. Gill, Rohit, and Virat.” He described how the opening phase had two spells and how Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill effectively handled Afridi’s initial deliveries.

Adaptation After Rain

Manjrekar highlighted the impact of rain on the game, stating, “And after the rain, someone must have spoken to Shaheen Afridi, and after the break, he brought his length back and in that length, the good length, Rohit Sharma got out, and so did Virat.” He pointed out that Afridi’s adjustment in length led to the fall of key wickets.

The Shorter Length Challenge

Manjrekar added, “So it wasn’t the typical Shaheen Afridi kind of delivery that troubled the Indian batters, but the shorter length, meaning the movement from the pitch made them out.” This insight underlines the importance of Indian batsmen preparing for Afridi’s shorter-length deliveries.

Late Pakistan Fightback

In the latter stages of India’s innings, Afridi dismissed Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over. Manjrekar noted, “So they need to prepare for these kinds of deliveries as well.” He emphasized the necessity for Indian batsmen to be ready for challenges like the late Pakistan fightback.

The Heroic Partnership

Manjrekar praised the partnership of Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya, stating, “See the match that happened between India and Pakistan, there was no result to the match, but it was a great result for India.” He acknowledged their impressive performance under pressure when India was reduced to 66-4.

Adapting to the Demands of the Game

Manjrekar lauded Hardik Pandya’s adaptability, saying, “But both Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan played that boring phase, played their innings well, and brought India to a respectable position.” He highlighted Pandya’s ability to adjust his game to the situation, focusing on building an innings when necessary.

As the India-Pakistan Asia Cup Super Four clash approaches, Sanjay Manjrekar’s insights provide valuable guidance for India’s batsmen. Afridi’s varying lengths and the need to adapt to different challenges are crucial aspects that the Indian team should keep in mind. Additionally, Manjrekar’s praise for Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya’s partnership emphasizes the importance of players adjusting their natural game for the team’s benefit. Cricket fans eagerly await this exciting encounter, hoping for a match that lives up to the hype.

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