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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Indian skipper proved it for the umpteenth time again on Sunday why he is called the modern-day batting genius.
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.
Kuldeep wasn’t having the best of the tournament in England till Sunday. He accounted for only one wicket in two matches till then.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.