Ahmedabad, Oct 14 (IANS) In front of more than 1,00,000 fans sporting the blue jerseys, India put up a comprehensive performance to beat Pakistan by seven wickets in an utterly one-sided 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup match at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Saturday.
The charge of India’s third straight victory on a sluggish pitch with variable bounce was led by Jasprit Bumrah’s intelligent variations and Kuldeep Yadav’s accurate wrist-spin fetching them figures of 2-19 and 2-35 respectively. Mohammed Siraj, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja also took two scalps each as India bowled out Pakistan for just 191 in 42.5 overs.
From cruising at 155-2, Pakistan lost eight wickets for just 36 runs in 13 overs in a shocking batting implosion, also their worst collapse for the last eight wickets in their history of playing in the Men’s ODI World Cup. Such was Pakistan’s innings that no batter hit a six and Nasser Hussain on air said it was “a collapse only Pakistan team can manufacture”.
In chasing 192, India skipper Rohit Sharma smashed six fours and as many sixes en route to top-score with a scintillating 86 off 63 balls. Shreyas Iyer did well to make 53 not out off 62 balls, giving India its eighth straight victory over Pakistan in Men’s ODI World Cups. The comprehensive win has also meant India has climbed to top of the points table.
Electing to bowl first, India waited for a breakthrough as Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq hit seven boundaries in the first seven overs. Siraj, who was hit for four boundaries, got a cross-seam delivery at back of the length to keep low and trapped Shafique plumb lbw.
After Imam pulled twice off Hardik Pandya for boundaries, the all-rounder bounced back by enticing the left-handed opener to go for a drive away from the body and he nicked behind to KL Rahul, who took a diving catch.
India could have got their third scalp when Jadeja trapped Rizwan lbw for one, but review showed ball missing leg-stump. While Azam was in excellent touch from the word go, especially in driving beautifully through covers, Rizwan was sublime with his sweeps and cuts.
With spinners tightening the screws by conceding only 11 runs in overs 24-27, India began to build pressure. But Azam and Rizwan eased it by taking a boundary each off Siraj as 13 runs came off the 28th over. Azam got his first ODI fifty against India when he creamed a drive through cover off Kuldeep.
But his knock and the 82-run partnership with Rizwan came to an end when his attempt to dab Siraj through third-man resulted in being undone on pace and bounce as the pacer hit the top of off-stump. It sparked a Pakistan batting collapse as Kuldeep trapped Saud Shakeel plumb lbw on review and ended the 33rd over by castling Iftikhar Ahmed with a googly around his legs.
Bumrah came back and struck with a delightful off-cutter which came in sharply to go past Rizwan’s inside edge and hit top of off-stump. He went on to castle Shadab Khan with a length ball which straightened off the pitch to hit top of off-stump. Mohammad Nawaz hit straight to mid-on off Hardik, while Hasan Ali holed out in the deep off Jadeja, who ended Pakistan’s innings by trapping Haris Rauf lbw.
In the chase, Shubman Gill didn’t look like he was back after missing first two games due to illness – striking three absolutely gorgeous boundaries through the off-side, before tickling one through fine to hit his fourth four in nine balls.
His promising knock ended in the third over when he flashed hard at a short and wide delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi and picked out backward point. Rohit struggled to get his timing initially, but found his groove when he carved Hasan over point and flicked sweetly through mid-wicket for two fours.
There was more delight in store for Indian fans as Virat Kohli creamed his cover drive to absolute pristine timing against Shaheen and would later bring out an extra-cover drive against left-arm pacer for two unforgettable boundaries.
Rohit entertained the crowd with mesmerising sixes – Shaheen was hooked over fine leg, Nawaz was flicked over mid-wicket and Haris Rauf was muscled over long-on, also becoming his 300th ODI six. He hit his 301st six by crunching Rauf over cover for six, before Hasan got Kohli to mis-time to mid-on.
After getting his fifty in 36 balls, Rohit continued to thunder boundaries effortlessly and got good support from Iyer, who joined him in raining fours and sixes against Pakistan’s bowlers, especially against the spinners.
Though Rohit fell short of his second successive century by 14 runs after mis-timing a slower ball to mid-on off Shaheen, Iyer and KL Rahul knocked off the remaining 36 runs with ease, with the former reaching his fifty through a winning six down the ground, to secure an emphatic Indian win.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 191 in 42.5 overs (Babar Azam 50, Mohammad Rizwan 49; Jasprit Bumrah 2-19, Hardik Pandya 2-34) lost to India 192-3 in 30.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 86, Shreyas Iyer 53 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-36, Hasan Ali 1-34) by seven wickets