Rohit, Virat & 3 Players Who Stole the Show in India vs Pakistan
From left: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav
From left: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav(Photo: The Quint/Aroop Mishra)

Rohit, Virat & 3 Players Who Stole the Show in India vs Pakistan

India extended their lead to seven wins against Pakistan in the World Cup as the latter went down by 89 runs (DLS) in a rain-marred encounter at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Virat Kohli and Co dominated the match from the very first over till the last one as Team India continued their unbeaten run in the competition.

The only thing that went in Pakistan’s favour on the day was the toss, which the side failed to capitalise on. Meanwhile, India justified their ‘favourites’ tag with yet another clinical performance to stay on course for their third World Cup triumph.

Here’s a look at top six performances from India which yet again denied Pakistan the elusive victory against their neighbours in the World Cup:

Opening Stand of 136

(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)

After Pakistan invited India to bat first under overcast conditions at Old Trafford, it was expected that Pakistani bowlers will make life difficult for the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.

Rahul, who was replacing an injured Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order, was sheepish against Mohammad Amir in the first over.

But Rohit Sharma played his A-game from ball number one as he targeted Hasan Ali in the first few overs. He took the attack to Pakistan under conditions tailor-made for good pace bowling.

Thanks to Rohit’s power hitting, Rahul could play at his own pace as went on to score a patient 57 off 78 balls.

This was the first time Rohit and Rahul were opening and it was evident. Pakistan missed two run-out opportunities very early in India’s batting, courtesy miscommunication between the two partners.

By the time Rahul was dismissed, the duo had added 136 runs on the board to take the game away from Pakistan in the first hour itself. It was India’s highest opening stand against Pakistan in a World Cup match.

Rohit Sharma

(Photo: The Quint/Aroop Mishra)

Rohit ‘Hitman’ Sharma took his nickname, too, seriously on Sunday against Pakistan. He went after the Pakistan bowling from the word go. At one end Rahul, had a cautious approach against the likes of Mohammad Amir and Haasan Ali but Rohit never allowed the pair to settle down, sending the ball to the boundary every over.

Rohit single-handedly shifted the momentum in India’s favour after Pakistan decided to bowl first to take advantage of the seaming condition.

Rohit was in complete control as he creamed every Pakistani bowler for fours and sixes. In the process he brought up his 24th ODI century. Rohit finished with 140 off 113 balls and hit 14 fours and 3 sixes.

This was his 4th hundred in England, 3rd in a World Cup and 2nd against Pakistan. He also became the first Indian batsman to score an ODI century at Old Trafford.

Virat Kohli

(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)

The Indian skipper proved it for the umpteenth time again on Sunday why he is called the modern-day batting genius.

Generally, it is his mastery with the bat which gets Virat all the praise but against Pakistan it was Virat Kohli – the master tactician at fore.

Virat came to the crease after Rahul’s dismissal in the 24th over of the Indian innings. By that time, Rohit Sharma had sucked out all the confidence from the Pakistani bowlers and the bowling had lost the sting.

It was too tempting for Virat to also go for the big shots, but the skipper showed restraint. He dealt in singles and the odd boundary as Rohit preferred taking the aerial route.

Virat realised the importance of his wicket in a big match against Pakistan and decided not to get carried away, which shows how much he has matured and why he is the number one batsman in both ODIs and Tests. He was happy to play second fiddle to Rohit.

Till Rohit Sharma was at crease, Virat Kohli was striking under 80. After Rohit’s dismissal, Virat took over the mantle from him. Virat’s strike rate saw an upward surge as he completed his fifty in 48 balls. By the time he was out for 77 his strike rate had crept to 118.46 and had struck 7 fours.

If Virat had stuck around till the end, India would have surely crossed the 350-mark.

Also Read : Fans Blame Burgers, Desserts & Sheesha Bar For Pak’s WC Defeat

Kuldeep Yadav

(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)

Kuldeep wasn’t having the best of the tournament in England till Sunday. He accounted for only one wicket in two matches till then.

But against Pakistan, the spinner showed his true class as he gave India two crucial breakthroughs in a span of nine balls.

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam had forged a 104-run stand for the second wicket. With the duo at the crease, it looked like Pakistan might still be in the game with a fighting chance. But, Kuldeep had some other plans.

In the 24th over, Kuldeep clean-bowled Babar Azam off the last ball. The Pakistani batsman had no clue as he played down the wrong line. The ball, which spun back to sneak in between his bat and pad, dismantled his stumps.

In his very next over, Kuldeep got the wicket of the other well-settled batsman, Fakhar Zaman. This time Zaman swept against the turn to send a top-edge to short fine. The other half of the Kul-Cha duo, Chahal lapped up the sitter as Zaman was on his way back.

Apart from the two wickets, Pakistani batsmen found it difficult to deal with the wrist spinner as Kuldeep bowled 28 dot balls in his 9 overs.

Hardik Pandya

(Photo: The Quint/Aroop Mishra)

After two matches, Hardik finally found his way with the ball. His was consistent with his cameos with the bat since the start of the tournament but was yet to show the same intent with the ball.

But, against Pakistan when his side needed him to step in the absence of Bhuvneshwar, Hardik picked up the two big wickets of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Hardik dismissed the Pakistani veterans in the same over off back-to-back deliveries. First, he got in-form Mohammad Hafeez caught at deep square. In the very next delivery, he dismissed Shoaib Malik, who went for a golden duck. The extra bounce from Hardik did the trick as the ball went on to hit the stump after clipping Shoaib’s bat.

After the departure of Bhuvneshwar, due to an injury, captain Kohli was looking at Hardik to play the role of the second seamer and the Mumbai all-rounder stood up to the challenge. His two wickets were the final two nails in Pakistan’s coffin as far as Sunday’s match was concerned.

Also Read : Five Big Moments From India’s 89-Run World Cup Victory Over Pak

Vijay Shankar

(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)

The ‘Three-Dimensional’ cricketer, replacing injured Dhawan in the side, had a mediocre outing with the bat against Pakistan. Scoring run-a-ball 15, Vijay Shankar found it impossible to step on the pedal during the death overs as India finished with 336/5.

But his misadventure with the bat was undone once he had the ball in his hand.

Shankar was roped in by Virat to finish the 5th over of the innings as Bhuvneshwar Kumar limped off with a hamstring injury.

And how did Shankar repay the faith shown in him by his captain?

Shankar bowled in a full length delivery, which rapped Imam-ul-Haq on the pad and the Pakistan opener was declared out. India got their first breakthrough from the most unlikely source and Vijay Shankar picked up a wicket off his very first delivery on his World Cup debut.

He came back later in the innings to dismiss Pakistani captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to cap off a fantastic debut at the World Cup.

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