Kolkata: Team India put on an emphatic display of bowling and batting to trounce arch-rivals Pakistan by a whopping 124 runs in their first game in this edition of the Champions Trophy, at Edgebaston on Sunday.
Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and chose to bat first. His decision started proving it’s worth as Mohammad Amir produced a deadly first over as comeback man Rohit Sharma found it really difficult to put bat to ball.
But he along with Shikhar Dhawan took time to settle to the conditions and as soon as they got their eyes in, fireworks followed. The duo put on a scintillating 134 run opening stand in 24.3 overs and built a strong foundation for the other batsmen to follow and things happened exactly according to plan.
Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli then came together at the crease to put on an attractive 93 run stand, which was dominated mostly by the stylish left-hander’s elegance. Yuvraj Singh took us to those old days when his batting was one of the star attractions of the Indian team. Smashing his way to 53 from just 32 balls, the elegant southpaw entertained the Edgebaston crowd as he along with Virat Kohli hit the Pakistani bowlers to all corners of the park.
After Yuvraj departed in the 47th over, in came Champions Trophy debutant Hardik Pandya who smashed three gigantic sixes of the bowling of Imad Wasim to take India to 319 in 48 overs. As a matter of the fact, 72 runs were scored of the last four overs of the Indian innings which goes to show how dangerous can the likes of Hardik Pandya (20*) , Virat Kohli (81*) and Yuvraj Singh can be in the death overs.
Rain had already made it’s presence felt in the high-octane clash as play was interrupted for several times. But neither did that dampen the spirits of the cricketers nor of the India and Pakistan fans at the ground.
Pakistan in pursuit of 320 in the reduced 48 overs-a-side match began well with openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad taking the total to 47 runs in nine overs before Bhuvneshwar Kumar trapped the latter in front of the wicket for 12. Azhar Ali, on the other hand carried on playing in his own tempo as he eventually fought his way through to a 50 of 65 deliveries after being dropped once by Bhuvneshwar.
At the end, his score ended up being the highest in the team as none of the other batsmen in the Pakistan team crossed 35. Babar Azam (8), who many touted as Pakistan’s Virat Kohli after his wonderful debut failed to make an impact as he was dismissed by an excellent catch by Ravindra Jadeja at backward point.
The experience of Mohammad Hafeez (33) and Shoaib Malik (15) weren’t put to use properly as the middle order couldn’t build a big partnership that would have at least taken them close to the Indian total.
Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (15) too failed to make an impact on his Champions Trophy debut as a captain as their innings ended up at 164/9 with number 11 Wahab Riaz unable to bat due to an injury he sustained while bowling.
As the match progressed, an Indian victory looked all the more evident as Pakistan showed no fight whatsoever in the marquee clash of this tournament. They ended up surrendering the game to India by 124 runs ( by DLS method) and this situation thus leaves them in a do-or-die situation in their next clash against the high-flying Proteas.
A thing that would definitely concern the Indians is the poor fielding effort which they displayed on the field as they leaked easy runs and dropped catches. Ravindra Jadeja was the only Indian fielder today who was extremely agile and acrobatic as he effected a stunning run out courtesy a one handed throw.
ICC Event Technical Committee confirms Steven Finn as replacement for the injured Chris Woakes
The ICC Event Technical Committee confirmed Steven Finn to be the replacement for injured paceman Chris Woakes in the English squad for the Champions Trophy. Woakes had sustained a left side strain in the Champions Trophy opener between hosts England and Bangladesh which the Morgan led team went on to win by eight wickets.
Steven Finn has been found to be the ideal replacement for Woakes. The lanky right arm pacer currently is at the 32nd position in the ODI rankings for bowlers with 102 wickets in 68 matches for England.
Brief scores: India 319/3 in 48 overs (Rohit Sharma 91, Virat Kohli 81*; Shadab Khan 1/52) beat Pakistan 164 all out in 33.4 overs (Azhar Ali 50, Mohammad Hafeez 33; Umesh Yadav 3/30) by 124 runs (by DLS method)