India vs Pakistan Champions Trophy – Report

India humiliate Pakistan by a whopping 124 runs in their opening game

The mother of all clashes at Edgbaston Birmingham witnessed a repeat of what had happened four years ago when India and Pakistan met in the previous edition of the ICC Champions Trophy. There were multiple rain interventions but the result was the same. India handed their arch rivals yet another defeat in the ICC knockout tournament and extended their hegemony. With this win, the win-loss ratio stretched to 13:2 favouring Team India.

Pakistan won the toss had invited India to bat first to take advantage of overcast conditions. Instead of operating with 2 pace bowlers from both ends Sarfraz Ahmed defied logic and started with Mohammad Amir and left arm spin of Imad Wasim. Indian openers had a plan and played with caution scoring 46 runs from 9.5 overs when the rain halted the game. Both openers had moved into their twenties, Rohit had scored 25 runs with 4 fours and Dhawan had scored 20 runs with a single boundary. Once the game resumed the Indian batsmen collectively flayed the Pakistan bowling to post 319 for the loss of three wickets. All the top four who batted posted fifties, an event which had happened only twice in the history of Indian ODI cricket before this game. India moved from 46 runs in 10 overs to 110 runs by the end of 20 overs.  Dhawan in particular started to score at the quicker pace and Rohit consumed a role of a sheet anchor. Dhawan scored his next 48 runs from 40 balls with a help of hat trick of fours from Wahab Raiz in the 20th over. Dhawan completed his 50 in the same over and then pounced on the young leg spinner Shadab Khan to club the bowler over midwicket. Rohit milked the bowlers with customary ease and brought p his 50 against Shadab Khan with a back foot pull over mid wicket. Dhawan fell while sending a full toss against the same bowler over the deep square leg but was caught by Azhar Ali stationed there. Rohit and Kohli added 56 runs for the second wicket in 73 balls which saw one more stoppage of play due to rain. It was a period where the Pakistan bowlers checked the run flow. Once Rohit fell for a well crafted 91 runs, India changed gears effortlessly and they were helped by some ordinary bowling and fielding. Kohli played a shot to the point region and called for a quick single. Rohit could not beat the throw from Babar and Sarfraz who was quick to dislodge the bails, even Rohit’s dive could not save him. Yuvraj and Kohli counter attacked and were involved in a 93 run stand which came from just 58 balls. Yuvraj played the lead role and scored a quick fire 53 from 32 balls with 8 dazzling hits to the fence and one maximum. He scored his runs with an astonishing strike rate of 165. Yuvraj and Kohli both got reprieves on when they were on 8 and 43 runs. Those let offs cost Pakistan 45 and 38 runs and the manner in which the batsmen scored those runs did hurt Pakistan a lot. Yuvraj’s innings happened to be the game changer for India as India galloped to a total beyond Pakistan’s reach. With Yuvraj hitting the pace bowlers with minimal discomfort Kohli joined the party from the other end. When Rohit fell Kohli had scored 29 runs but his next 52 runs came from just 31 balls. He swiftly moved to 81 undefeated runs with 8 fours and 3 sixes. Yurvaj disrupted the bowling figures of Wahab and Hasan Ali in particular. He scored 19 runs from 13 balls against Wahab in the process hit the bowler for 3 fours. Against Hasan Ali he scored 25 runs from 11 balls hitting the bowler of 4 fours and sent a slow ball into the square leg stands for a six. The pair found a boundary every over from the 41st over apart from the 43rd over. India scored a whopping 106 in the last 8 overs thanks to the carnage of Kohi and Yuvraj. The last fours overs fetched 72 runs. Hasan Ali leaked 17 runs in the 45th over which saw Yuvraj score 2 straight batted fours and Kohli celebrated his 50 with six over long on. Wahab’s length deliveries  were given the right treatment as Kohli scored 14 runs from the first 3 balls. Yuvraj reached his 50 in the same over through an inside edge. Yuvraj fell lbw to Hasan in the next over but the he had done the damage and Kohli completed the over with four and a six from the 4th and 5th balls. Hardik went after Imad Wasim in the final over and scored a hat trick of sixes from the first three balls. The first two sixes cleared long off and the third six was slog swept over deep midwicket. Kohli finished the innings with a four and walked off with Hardik Pandya with a big smile, who remained unbeaten on 20 runs from six balls.

Pakistan had to chase a revised target of 324 from 48 runs as Duckworth Lewis Method was applied and again changed to 289 runs from 41 runs due to another rain interruption. Pakistan needed one of their main batsmen to play long innings. But only two of their batsmen batted for more than 40 balls. Azhar Ali scored a sedate fifty at the top order but consumed 65 balls with six hits to the fence. Hafeez tired to anchor the innings in the middle order and scored 33 runs from 43 balls with just 2 fours. The Indian bowlers picked up wickets at crucial junctures which increased the required run rate as well. Bhuneshwar Kumar was rewarded for bowling right lengths and picked up the wicket of Ahmed Shehzad lbw for 12 runs with the score on 47 runs. Umesh Yadav in his second spell dismissed the new sensation of Pakistan Babar Azam caught by Jadeja at backward point for 8 runs. Jadeja was seen in action when Pakistan lost their 3rd 4th and  5th wickets.  Azhar Ali after completing his 50 tried to sweep Jadeja but the top edge landed in the lands of Pandya at deep square leg. Shoaib Malik looked the only batsmen to attack the Indian bowlers. He hit Pandya for back to back fours 22nd over and then launched out of the crease against Jadeja and hit him for a straight six in the next over. But Malik’s innings was cut short by the brilliance of Jadeja in the field. The batsman had pushed for a single in backward point where Jadeja quickly and hit the stumps with a flat direct throw.  Three overs later Hafeez fell to Jadeja caught by Bhuneshwar at deep square leg. With half of the side gone for 131 runs a big defeat loomed for Pakistan. Pandya and Umesh Yadav equally shared the last 4 wickets to fall as the Pakistan innings folded at 164. Wahab Raiz did not bat due to injury.

Yuvraj was rewarded the Man of the Mach award and he would like to continue to bat in the same way as the tournament progresses.

Team India being defending champions and also one of the title contenders had a perfect start to the tournament. Their batting did show the firepower and their bowlers looked disciplined. Apart from the few fielding lapses they have all bases covered.  Pakistan after being outplayed in all three departments of the game has major problems to address. Their batsmen will have to improve their scoring pattern and their bowlers will have to bowl proper lengths to contain their opponents if not an early exit is definite. India play Sri Lanka on 8th June  and Pakistan have a must-win game against South Africa on 7th June.