Rohit Sharma hit 140, Virat Kohli smashed 77, KL Rahul made 57, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar picked crucial wickets as India crushed Pakistan by 89 runs(DLS) on Sunday at the Old Trafford. India have now won all their 7 World Cup matches against Pakistan.
1992. 1996. 1999. 2003. 2011. 2015. 2019. India have defeated Pakistan in all these World Cups. And this victory happened to be India’s biggest ever over their arch-rivals in any World Cup match.
Pakistan have never been very competitive against India in World Cups. On Sunday, it looked like only one team had the ability to dictate terms in the game. It was India. Even without Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (who was ruled out of the match after bowling 2.4 overs), it was India all the way.
Rohit Sharma became the 2nd Indian after Virat Kohli to hit a World Cup hundred against Pakistan and added 136 for the opening wicket with KL Rahul who made his maiden fifty in a World Cup. It was an incredible partnership – Rahul had replaced Shikhar Dhawan at the top but he did not look out of sorts. It was the first time Rahul had walked out to open with Rohit but the two batted like a dream.
And then there was Virat Kohli, who during the course of his 77, became the fastest player to reach 11,000 ODI runs. Kohli’s innings was a master-class for the likes of Babar Azam who failed to capitalise on another start. It’s well for Babar to watch Kohli’s videos but he needs to learn how to build an innings.
Rohit, Kohli and Rahul played brilliant knocks and that meant Pakistan had to chase 337 off 50 overs with a threat of rain. Pakistan had a glimmer of hope when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was ruled out of further participation in the match with tightness in his left hamstring.
But Vijay Shankar struck with his first ball in a World Cup match and despite a 104-run stand between Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, Pakistan lost their way in a space of 4 overs. That’s all that it took for India to bounce back after what looked like a threatening stand.
Fakhar had carved out a good-looking 62 and Babar was batting on 48 before Kuldeep Yadav snared him with a beauty. In his next over, Kuldeep removed Fakhar Zaman and Pakistan were gasping. And then Hardik Pandya knocked the wind out of Pakistan’s sails. He returned for his second spell to remove Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik off successive balls to leave Pakistan’s chase in tatters.
Virat Kohli never looked worried even without Bhuvneshwar off the field after bowling only 2.4 overs. Vijay Shankar, who dismissed Imam-ul-Haq early in the innings, returned to remove Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan slipped to 165 for 6 in the 35th over. By then, Pakistani fans at the Old Trafford had started to leave.
It was carnage. Pakistan were totally outplayed. Rohit Sharma, who hit his 24th ODI hundred and 2nd in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, never even looked getting out – and when he did, he had scored 140 but he was gutted. Rohit wanted more. To be honest, he could have finished with a lot more had he been able to chip that Hassan Ali delivery over Wahab Riaz at short fine leg.
Virat Kohli’s 77 was the gold standard for what a captain’s knock should be. He is the best batsman in the world but when Rohit Sharma was going great guns, Kohli was happy to play second fiddle. Kohli switched gears only when Rohit Sharma was dismissed and took India past 300.
It was a clinical performance. The threat of rain loomed large all day but there were only 2 major interruptions – one towards the end of the Indian innings and the other when Pakistan were on the verge of a huge defeat.