Rohit breathtaking, Bumrah and Kuldeep sublime: India 8-0 Pakistan in World Cup | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Rohit breathtaking, Bumrah and Kuldeep sublime: India 8-0 Pakistan in World Cups after another no-contest

Oct 14, 2023 09:51 PM IST

The home bowlers bundle out Pakistan for 191 before Sharma hits 86 as India ease to a seven-wicket win in Ahmedabad in the high-profile World Cup clash.

Dominant. Breathtaking. Sublime. You can use any of these adjectives to describe India’s performance, for all of it would be apt as they crushed Pakistan by seven wickets at a noisy Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

India v Pakistan - India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with KL Rahul after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Iftikhar Ahmed as Rohit Sharma looks on (REUTERS)
India v Pakistan - India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates with KL Rahul after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Iftikhar Ahmed as Rohit Sharma looks on (REUTERS)

Pakistan's performance, on the other hand, was abject and hopeless, imploding on a placid surface to be bundled out for 191 – they lost their last eight wickets for 36 runs -- when they should have at least made a hundred more. Even that may not have been enough given Rohit Sharma’s stroke-filled 86 off 63 balls, but it would have at least dragged the contest on for more than the 30.3 overs India batted. That was all it took for India to ease to 192/3 and notch up their third successive win of the World Cup campaign.

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While India lost early wickets against Australia to stutter in their chase of 200, Sharma seemed in no mood to entertain a wobble on Saturday. He welcomed Shaheen Afridi with a flick towards square leg for four off the first ball of the innings, building on the confidence of his 63-ball ton versus Afghanistan three days ago.

India vs Pakistan World Cup 2023 Full Highlights

Shubman Gill, playing his first game of the campaign, also looked in gorgeous touch, driving Hasan Ali either side of extra cover for boundaries in the second over. When Ali tried to shift his line to the stumps, Gill clipped him for a four towards fine leg. Gill’s innings ended when he cut a short ball by Afridi to Shadab Khan at point, but Sharma didn't ease up as India raced to fifty in 6.4 overs.

When Afridi pitched the ball short in the seventh over, Sharma pulled towards the deep backward square leg boundary for the game’s first six. Kohli also joined in, unleashing a pull and a trademark cover drive for back-to-back fours. Ali had a brief respite when Kohli mistimed a pull to mid-on, but it was all too brief for Pakistan’s liking. Sharma carved Haris Rauf for two sixes in the pacer’s first over. When spinner Mohammad Nawaz came on, he danced down the track and sent the ball soaring into the midwicket boundary. It was batting of the highest calibre.

There was simply nowhere to go for Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, each of his moves being met by a fierce riposte from the India skipper. Sharma was eventually dismissed for 86 but not before playing a major role in their victory.

“The bowlers today as well set the game for us. Restricting them to 190 (191) was a great effort. It was not a 190 pitch. At one stage they were looking at 280 or 290. Whoever gets the ball does the job for the team. We have got six individuals who can do the job,” Sharma said at the post-match presentation.

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On a surface where it was apparent that the seam bowlers would have negligible assistance with the new ball, Pakistan were actually off to a positive start. Jasprit Bumrah was the more accurate of the opening bowlers again, giving away just 14 runs in his first spell of four overs. Mohammed Siraj leaked three boundaries in his very first over, straying down the leg on a couple of occasions and getting punished by Imam-ul-Haq.

Imam also hit an elegant straight drive for four off Siraj, but the shot of the afternoon came off Abdullah Shafique's bat. With Bumrah nailing the good length like he owned that area of the pitch, Shafique shimmied down the track and lofted him straight down the ground for a boundary.

In the very next over though, he was pinned leg-before by Siraj, misjudging the bounce and paying the price for playing across the line. Imam too couldn't build on his start. Having cut a short ball outside off stump for four against Pandya, the left-hand opener was eyeing the same outcome when he saw width on the next delivery. But Pandya had bowled this fuller, enticing Imam into a drive that caught his outside edge for wicketkeeper KL Rahul to hold on to.

It brought Pakistan's two best batters, Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, together. While Ravindra Jadeja's first delivery spun past Rizwan's outside edge to cause some alarm, the Pakistan duo was largely successful in spreading calm in the visitors' dressing room with an 82-run partnership for the third wicket. They put away the bad balls, ran hard between wickets and seemed to be setting their stall for a match-defining partnership. Azam covered the arc from extra cover to mid-on with some majestic drives while Rizwan employed the cut and sweep shots to good effect.

When Azam brought up his fifty off 57 balls by driving a full toss -- a rare bad delivery by Kuldeep Yadav -- through cover-point for a boundary, it brought only a ripple of applause from the stands. The crowd perhaps sensed the game slowly but surely tilting in Pakistan's direction. Just then, Siraj struck and helped the partisan crowd find its voice again. He got the better of Azam with a length ball that beat his angled bat and hit the top of off-stump.

Pakistan were still in a strong position, but their innings would unravel in spectacular fashion from thereon. The collapse was triggered by Kuldeep’s twin blows in the 33rd over. In the very next over, Bumrah flummoxed the set Rizwan with a peach of an off-cutter. Shadab Khan too was undone by Bumrah’s genius, playing down the wrong line to a ball that straightened just a touch to knock back his off-stump. Jadeja finished the proceedings with a couple of wickets.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vivek Krishnan is a sports journalist who enjoys covering cricket and football among other disciplines. He wanted to be a cricketer himself but has gladly settled for watching and writing on different sports.

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