A familiar template if you are a cricket fan as India dominate Pakistan once again at the World Cup to push their head to head to Seven to nil against their Arch-rivals.
With the Rain God showing mercy on Sunday, the contest was all set with Sarfaraz Ahmed doing exactly the opposite of what everybody wanted him to do, opted to bowl first. He also went in with two spinners, and for India, Vijay Shankar made his World Cup debut.
KL Rahul was pushed to open the innings in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan alongside Rohit Sharma. Though the pair started slowly, they picked up to add an excellent partnership of 136. Rahul scored 57 before throwing away his wicket with a soft dismissal. Rohit was then joined by Virat Kohli who once again played the perfect anchor role to Rohit Sharma who was hitting the ball sweetly.
The Indian vice-captain went on to score a perfect hundred, his second against Pakistan, Second in the World Cup 2019 and 24th overall in the ODIs. Rohit Sharma, just like every single time, shifted his gears after he reached the hundred and at 140, he lost his wicket while trying to play a fancy shot over the fine leg. He certainly was disappointed with himself for giving away his wicket.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, played some of the crafted shots to get to his fifty and during his knock, he crossed the 11,000 ODI runs, fastest cricketer to do so.
Hardik Pandya’s 26 off 19 helped Kohli to relax a bit as well. After his and MS Dhoni’s dismissal, Vijay Shankar came in ahead of Kedhar Jadhav. While the duo was batting, the rains took over and right after the rains, Virat Kohli got out at 77 off 65 and probably he was the only one who thought that he was out. Amir’s short ball had Virat Kohli in the back foot, trying to play the pull shot. The ball completely missed the skipper and travelled to Sarfaraz. A half-hearted appeal from both the keeper and the bowler saw Erasmus say no but Kohli thought he nicked the ball and walked away. The ultra-edge showed no deflection and Virat Kohli was kicking himself for walking away.
Vijay Shankar and Kedhar Jadhav then chipped in to take the team to 336
Chasing the same, Pakistan would have thought that they can easily make it as the total would have reminded the Champions Trophy final 2017 where they almost scored the same.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah starting off the proceedings, the Pakistan batters struggled to score initially and a niggle for Bhuvneshwar Kumar kept him away from bowling and it pushed him to walk back to the dressing room for treatment. Vijay Shankar was called in to finish the over of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and to everyone’s surprise, Vijay Shankar struck the first ball removing Imam-ul-Haq.
Babar Azam then joined with Fakhar Zaman and the duo added 114 runs for the second wicket before Kuldeep Yadav removed them both for 48 and 62 respectively. The middle order and the lower middle order crumbled to the Indian all-rounders as Pakistan was pushed to 165-6. What followed was a good partnership between Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan but that wasn’t enough to chase down the Indian target as Pakistan fell 89 runs short of the total.
Though it was a pretty one-sided contest, Pakistan did have their moments which they failed to grab.
Had Rohit Sharma was dismissed early in the innings where Fakhar Zaman threw the ball at the wrong end when a miscommunication led Rohit Sharma stranded half-way down the pitch.
Also, Wondering why Pakistan didn’t target Rohit Sharma’s weakness of bowling proper inswingers, the one that comes back in. There were two instances where Rohit Sharma got lucky with the inside edge. Unfortunately, Pakistan ended up being short to Rohit, one of the best cutters and pullers of limited overs cricket.
To Kohli, the outside off-stump delivery that goes away from him has caused Kohli troubles earlier in his innings and Pakistan didn’t try that either.
Though there is a lot to learn from the mistakes for Pakistan, they will be hopeful of bouncing back as early as possible and for India, as long as the top three performs, the Indians can sleep tight.
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