Match Report

Just like in the previous match against Australia, India ticked all the right boxes even against a few injury hiccups to easily win the most anticipated match with arch rival Pakistan. With doubt till the last moment whether the game at Old Trafford would be washed off or not (as is the trend in this World Cup), the game was played with interruptions of rain in between. The toss was won by Sarfaraz and he opted to put in India to bat. The main changes were that Vijay Shankar was in at 5/6 position, which meant they promoted KL Rahul to open along with Rohit Sharma. Both teams had a couple of spinners, as they felt that the pitch would surely offer something in the match.

Apart from the first over, which was a maiden played by Rahul off of Mohammad Amir, nothing interesting happened for Pakistan. KL played a cautions innings scoring a half century (57 runs), while Rohit was in sublime form hitting the bowler’s for boundaries consistently. Apart from two missed chances of run outs due to a slight miscommunication, there was no real threat from the bowlers. Such was the supremacy of Indian batsmen that they had to gift wickets to opposition.

First it was Rahul who gave his wicket away cheaply, after a hard-earned 50. Rohit (140 runs in 113 balls), who had just hit wayward Hasan Ali for a six in front of wicket tried playing a cheeky shot behind wickets only to gift it to Wahab Riaz. Kohli who was playing a second fiddle to Rohit tried upping the tempo along with the promoted Pandya. When things were looking good for 350+ score, Pandya who hit Amir and Ali for boundaries in their respective last overs got out.

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Kohli walked off field without nicking the ball which he tried puling to fine leg. The game had to be halted due to drizzle which led to loss of concentration for Indian batsmen losing wickets in a pile to be reduced to 336/5. Apart from Mohammad Amir (3/47) and Imad Wasim, no other bowler was able to contain the in-form Indian batsmen.

With no team chasing more than 280+ scores in this tournament, it would have taken a Pakistan some solid batting performance but not all went according to the plan. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah bowled to opener Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, containing them and not giving too many openings to score runs freely. With the start provided by bowlers, the first causality stuck the Indian camp when Kumar suffered a hamstring pull and he had to leave field as a precautionary measure. Shankar was given the ball to complete Kumar’s over and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands picking wicket of ul-Haq with first ball he bowled.

One down already, Babar Azam along with Zaman tried to build partnership and scored a century partnership but that’s the only saving grace that happened for them on the night. Shankar, Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav all picked up a couple of wickets each to push Pakistan back to a meek 165/6 in the 35th over.

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Rains halted the match again at that point. When the match resumed it was already over, with the batting side needing 136 runs in 5 overs, a herculean task. Even Indian bowlers and fielders became complacent with some loose balls and miss fielding from the Indian side. The end was about saving grace for Pakistan with Imad Wasim (46 runs) and Shadab Khan (20runs), scoring a 47 run partnership.

Rohit Sharma was rightfully declared Man of the match for his scintillating 140 run-knock. KL Rahul cemented his place at top in the absence of Dhawan, while Vijay Shankar played good with both bat and ball. Apart from Dhawan, now Bhuvi who suffered a slight niggle will be out for 2-3 matches as a precautionary measure to avoid any mishaps against tough opponents.

Next two matches should be match practice against Afghanistan and West Indies for India before they play host England at Edgbaston which should a cracker of a match.

Bhuvi Injury Update

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will miss 2-3 games at least for the Indian cricket team, which would mean that this would be an opportunity for Mohammed Shami. India play Afghanistan next and West Indies after that and it will be a good platform for Shami to exploit this and produce the best results for himself and his country.

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Bangladesh Upset The West Indies

The Tigers have beaten the mighty West Indies side, producing their second upset of the tournament. West Indies made 321/8 in their 50 overs, while Bangladesh made their target in just 41.3 overs. Shakib Al Hasan, who made 124 runs and took a couple of wickets as well, was adjourned the Man Of The Match.

He now becomes the highest scorer of the World Cup with 384 runs. This is some performance that he is putting at present, as he is the best all-round player of the tournament right now.