A solid all-round performance from India saw them beat Pakistan by 124 runs (D/L method) at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Deep-seated rivalry, a record Edgbaston attendance and over a billion people watching … the only thing that was missing from the clash between India and Pakistan in Birmingham on Sunday was a competitive contest.
As expected, it’s the Proteas and the Indians who prop up Group B, and while anything can happen on the day, it’s difficult to see Pakistan giving the South Africans too much trouble when they clash at the same ground on Wednesday.
The half-centuries from Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh were excellent in their own right, and the bowling was disciplined and effective from the onset.
India were put into bat, and like the Proteas on Saturday, the openers grafted hard in the first 10 overs before opening their shoulders. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 46 off 9.5 overs before the rain fell down. There would be a couple of rain delays throughout the day as India’s innings was shortened to 48 overs, before Pakistan’s eventually became 41.
Sharma and Dhawan pushed on to a 136-run stand, with the latter falling first for 68. Virat Kohli and Sharma found scoring a bit harder to come by from there, but the crucial thing was that they had wickets in hand.
Sharma departed for 91 in what was a 50-50 call for a run out from the third umpire. Kohli and Yuvraj Singh then unleashed, piling together 93 from just 58 balls.
Yuvraj amassed 53 off 32 balls, before Kohli found an extra gear, together with Hardik Pandya, to score 72 off the last four overs. Pandya smashed three sixes off the first three balls of the last over to get to 20 off six, while Kohli finished unbeaten on 81 from 68.
The worrying news for Pakistan was that pace pair Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz both had their spells cut short after they limped off the field. They will be assessed with the Proteas game only three days away.
Pakistan simply lacked the firepower at the top of the order to come anywhere close to India’s total. Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad gave their side some hope with an encouraging 47-run stand, and they were in fact ahead on the D/L method. That was until Shehzad perished for 12, and it all fell apart from there.
A meaningful partnership wasn’t forthcoming, as their next-best stand was 30 between Ali and Mohammad Hafeez. Ali top-scored with 50, but it came off a costly 65 balls. Shoaib Malik showed much-needed fight that was lacking from the top four, but when he was run out for 15 off nine, the game petered away.
Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja can be pleased with their efforts with the ball, taking 2-43 apiece, which proved that there’s a lot of depth to this Indian side.
Umesh Yadav, who took 3-30, sealed victory with the wicket of Hasan Ali for a duck, and with that, a seventh-consecutive victory for India over Pakistan at major tournaments.
Photo: Michael Steele/Gallo Images