India on Thursday maintained their all-win record by producing yet another resounding performance to thrash minnows United Arab Emirates by nine wickets in a lop-sided inconsequential round robin league match of the Asia Cup here on Thursday. (Scorecard | Highlights)
The Indian juggernaut rolled on as they have now won nine out of the 10 Twenty20 Inetrnationals played this year, a very good track record going into the ICC World Twenty20.
Chasing a small target of 82, the Indians romped home in only 10.1 overs with Rohit Sharma hitting a flurry of boundaries in his 28-ball-39. In all he hit seven fours and a six adding 43 for the opening stand with Shikhar Dhawan (16 not out), which incidentally is the highest for India for the first wicket in this tournament.
Yuvraj Singh (25 no off 14 balls), promoted up the order at No 3 ahead of Virat Kohli, to got a decent knock in the middle. He hit a few free-flowing boundaies including an effortless six off Mohammed Shahzad. Yuvraj finished the match off the first delivery of the 11th over with a boundary off Shahzad.
Dhawan however did not look fully confident as he was tested by a few rising deliveries that deviated off the surface.
Earlier, India's reserve bench put up an impressive show to restrict UAE to a meagre 81 for nine after being asked to field.
UAE's total is the second lowest by an international team without being bowled out.
UAE had no answer to India's disciplined bowling effort with the second string attack of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/8 in 4 overs), Jasprit Bumrah (1/23 in 4 overs), Hardik Pandya (1/11 in 3 overs), Harbhajan Singh (1/11 in 4 overs) and Pawan Negi (1/16) putting relentless pressure on the inexperienced opposition. Even Yuvraj (1/10 in 2 overs) chipped in with a scalp.
This is the second time in the tournament that India has restricted the opposition to less-than 100 total.
There was such distinct difference in standards that it turned out to be a no contest from the outset. The total number of dots conceded by UAE in the match was an unprecedented 77 deliveries.
The UAE team had neither intent nor stomach for a good fight and it wasn't the kind of practice that the Indians were looking for before the final against Bangladesh on Sunday.
Bhuvneshwar was economical in his first spell in which he bowled 15 dots and also got the wicket of Swapnil Patil (0), who was promoted as an opener. After playing eight consecutive dot balls, he closed his bat face to an angular delivery only to find the leading edge that landed in the bowler's hands.
His new ball partner Jasprit Bumrah was a touch quicker and a rising delivery outside off-stump saw Mohammed Shahzad (1) tentatively jab at it and the ball flew to Suresh Raina at second slip.
Rohan Mustafa's (11) approach and technique had no visible change despite his failures and the result was no different in this match also. After playing and missing for the better part of his 22-ball stay, Mustafa was finally dismissed off a Pandya delivery giving Kohli a simple catch in the covers. UAE were reduced to 25 for three.
Harbhajan, playing his first match in the tournament, bowled decently with figures of 4-1-11-1. He bowled 16 dot balls in his four over spell.
Debutant Negi, IPL's most expensive Indian cricketer at Rs 8.5 crore, got his first international wicket when left-handed Muhammad Usman (9) was holed out at long-off to Harbhajan while trying to hit a six.
UAE skipper Amjad Javed (0), just lasted a ball when Negi returned the favour taking a catch of Harbhajan's bowling.
Wickets fell at regular intervals for UAE with Shaiman Anwar showing some fight, top-scoring with 43 off 48 balls with three fours and a six.