Defending champions India launched their Cricket World Cup campaign in style as they produced a clinical performance to spank Pakistan by 76 runs, maintaining their unbeaten record against the arch-rivals in the mega event.
Here are the highlights of the match in pics.
Once he gets going we all know what Rohit Sharma is capable of. Remember the 264 and the 209? But sometimes Rohit catches a bad case of what cricket fans call 'rush of blood'. At 7.3 overs he plays a pre-decided front-foot hoick to Sohail Khan. The ball gets big on him and all he ends up doing is looping it. Misbah runs in from mid-off to pouch that. Rohit was looking good. Not to be today.
A billion hearts stopped when Virat Kohli pulled a Shahid Afridi ball (10.5) towards long-on. Leggie Yasir Shah ran in from the boundary to his right, all the while not taking his eyes off the ball. He made a diving valiant effort, the ball touches his fingertips. He can’t hold on and India breathes again. Would have been an early contender for best catch of the tournament along with Joe Root's blinder against Australia.
Kohli was dropped again (31.5). Umar Akmal muffled a simple nick the batsman got to a
Haris Sohail ball that turned. The wicketkeeper and bowler are both "part-timers". Costly miss. Kohli fell after scoring 107. Akmal had the consolation of catching him.
Kohli had started the 2011 World Cup with a century (against Bangladesh). He started this edition with one.
No one has been under more scrutiny that Shikhar Dhawan. Fans were calling for his ouster. The opener ended his poor run with 73 off 76 balls before he was unfortunately run out. His 129-run partnership with Kohli set India on course.
In the first two warm-up matches India missed big partnerships at the top and in the middle. After Dhawan, Raina joined hands with Kohli for a 110-run partnership in 15.3 overs. Raina’s 74 off 56 balls (studded with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes) propelled India’s run rate.
Wickets fell in a heap towards the end and India could not make most of the platform given by Dhawan, Kohli, Raina. Sohail Khan bowled a brilliant last over, picking up two wickets. India reached 300, but could make only 27 in the last 5 overs. What’s more, India lost 5 wickets in this phase.
Mohammed Shami made Younis Khan look ugly with his sharp bouncer. The seasoned batsman looked very ungainly trying to fend it off. He tried to duck, but couldn’t and the attempt at a shot is more self-preservation. The ball hits the glove and lobs up to Dhoni. India make the breakthrough (3.2). Younis goes for 6.
Shami struck twice in the 35th over, getting rid of ‘Boom Boom’ ‘Lala’ Shahid Afridi and Wahab Riaz.
Afridi first. The ball was not special — a high full toss — but the catch from Kohli was. Kohli ran back, looked to have overrun, gathered himself and caught it neat before diving for control. His celebration, arms flung wide, looked like what Afridi does. You have to hand it to Cheeku (Kohli’s nickname) for being cheeky. Afridi went for 22.
The same over, Wahab Riaz fell trying to cut a short and wide one. He edged it to Dhoni and was out for 4. His only scoring shot had been a boundary.
Haris Sohail was looking comfortable out there, but Ravichandran Ashwin was slowly but surely pulling his weight in the game. He scalped Sohail in the 18th over, courtesy a sharp catch by Raina at slip. Moreover, it was a wicket-maiden. Ashwin was one of the key players when India started to put the choke on Pakistan. Sohail who had issues with a ‘ghost’ in a New Zealand hotel room, went for 36.
Umesh Yadav went for plenty in his opening spell, but redeemed himself in style in the 24th over. He bowled one short and wide (23.2) to the well settled Ahmed Shehzad, who lashed out, but fatally in the air. Jadeja nearly dropped the ball before making sure he had it safe in his left hand. Shehzad fell for 47.
In comes Sohaib Maqsood. Defends one. Out next ball. He tried to force a wide, shortish ball from Yadav and ball flies to Raina at slip. Maqsood walks back with a duck for his poor effort.
Umar Akmal is a very exciting player. Today was not his day. Had a torrid match, both as a wicketkeeper (part-time role) and with the bat. He gave Pakistan no joy when he dropped Kohli. He finally caught Kohli, but by then the batsman had hit a ton.
He lasted four balls with the bat. There was an edge to Jadeja in the 25th over which did not show even on snicko. Dhoni was confident straight away and was proved right. The ball’s seam seemed to have altered path while passing his bat. The benefit of the doubt? Not today. Duck it was.
For all other stats and scores, refer to the full scorecard here...
Scorecard: India vs Pakistan