After a stuttering start in the opening game of the tournament against Hong Kong, Rohit Sharma and his boys put on a clinical show against arch-rivals Pakistan as India thrashed them by eight wickets in their second game of the Asia Cup.
Starting on the wrong foot after losing the toss to Sarfraz Ahmed, Rohit showed a brilliant mind as he used the conditions to the team’s advantage to not only ring in the right changes in the bowling attack, but also put pressure on Pakistan from the word go. All in all, it was a terrific effort from the skipper and his men as India showed why they are the second ranked team in ODIs.
It was a superlative effort from the bowling unit that saw them shot out Pakistan for a paltry 162 in 43.1 overs before Rohit Sharma (52 off 39 balls) and Shikhat Dhawan (46 off 54 balls) added 86 for the opening wicket to ensure a smooth chase for the ‘Men In Blue’ in only 29 overs. This was India’s most comprehensive victory in terms of balls remaining (126).
After a wake-up call against Hong Kong, the Pakistan match was a near perfect performance for India as Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/15 in 7 overs) and Kedar Jadhav (3/23 in 9 overs) were perfectly complemented by Jasprit Bumrah (2/23 in 7.1 overs) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/37 in 8 overs).
If Kuldeep’s googly to snuff out Babar Azam was the turning point, Kedar Jadhav’s unconventional side-arm off-breaks broke the lower middle-order as Pakistan never recovered from the batting collapse. With the pressure of scoreboard virtually non-existent, Rohit and Dhawan showed why they are one of the most formidable opening pair in white ball cricket.
However, Pakistan suffered a batting collapse losing five wickets for 36 runs before Faheem Ashraf (21) and Mohammed Aamir (16) added an invaluable 37 runs for the eighth wicket to take the total past 150-run mark. Put into bat, Pakistan were in trouble straight away as Bhuvneshwar dealt a twin blow removing the in-form duo of Imam ul Haq (2) and Fakhar Zaman (0) to reduce them to 2 for 3.
Imam charged to a short of length delivery that climbed on him and the thickish outside edge was taken by Dhoni. Zaman, India’s tormentor in the Champions Trophy, mistimed a pull-shot and Yuzvendra Chahal took a well-judged catch.