It was time for the all important clash between arch rivals India and Pakistan. The match was very well advertised and has been eagerly waited for by the fans all around the world. Both teams were looking to start their campaign on a high with a victory which would also boost their confidence for the rest of the tournament.
Pakistan won the all important toss and chose to bowl on a batting friendly pitch looking to make use of the freshness in the pitch. Mohammad Amir almost provided the ideal start, bowling an excellent first over going past Rohit Sharma’s outside edge thrice. Imad Wasim kept it tight at the other end not giving away runs but this ploy of bowling Wasim inside the powerplay for such a long time made it easier for the Indian openers to settle down. Indians, started cautiously scoring just 9 out of the first 4 overs but as they were beginning to up the ante, rain interrupted play with India at 46 from 9.5 overs.
Rohit and Shikhar though didn’t seem to lose any momentum as they carried on rotating the strike and getting the occasional boundary. It was the 20th over from Wahab Riaz which Shikhar Dhawan really took apart scoring three boundaries and reaching his fifty. Shikhar though held out at mid wicket trying to hit a full-toss from Shadab out of the ground. Rohit and Kohli then proceeded cautiously and just as Rohit was starting to up the pace, he got run out, again. There is something among Rohit, Virat and run outs, which is reminiscent of what used to happen between Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid back in the day. The fans still continue to have no idea at all why it happens.
India were 192 for 2 when Rohit was out on 91 after playing 119 deliveries. Then came along Yuvraj and started hitting the ball sweetly, though was lucky as Pakistan dropped his catch when he was on 8, but he made sure that he doesn’t let go off this opportunity. Kohli, who was struggling for most part of his innings, was first dropped after which he found his rhythm and then destroyed the Pakistan bowling lineup ending with a score of 81 not out. Hardik Pandya smashed three consecutive sixes in the last over to propel India’s score to a mammoth 319 in 48 overs.
The target for Pakistan was revised to 324 from 48 overs as per the DLS method. Pakistan started steadily with Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad getting into the groove before rain interrupted play when Pakistan were 21 for no loss from 4.5 overs. The game was reduced to 41 overs with target being 289. Azhar started scoring boundaries, but wickets kept falling at the other end. Bhuvneshwar Kumar trapped Ahmed Shehzad in front at the score of 47. Pakistan batting sensation Babar Azam also held out at point after scoring a boundary in the same area. Jadeja then got Azhar Ali caught trying to play a slog sweep after Ali reached his half century. Shoaib Malik came to the crease after that and started playing his shots and would have caused India a lot of trouble if he had stayed there but brilliance from Ravindra Jadeja at point saw him getting run out when Pakistan were at 114. That one handed throw on the move would be remembered by many for days to come.
It was a downhill journey from thereon for Pakistan as there wasn’t much Mohammad Hafeez and captain Sarfraz Ahmed could do. The captain departed at the score of 151 and it was a matter of time from then. Umesh removed both Amir and Hasan Ali and that was the end of the innings as Wahab Riaz didn’t come out to bat. India won the match by 124 runs going top of the group B.
The fielding though, was poor from both the sides in this match with both India and Pakistan dropping two catches each and being sloppy in the ground fielding department. Virat Kohli himself wasn’t happy with the fielding and expressed the same in the presentation.
Yuvraj Singh was given the Player of the Match award for his match changing 53 from just 32 balls. Pakistan now find themselves at the bottom of the group and requiring big wins from the rest of their matches.