India have started their defence of the Champions Trophy with a clinical 124 run victory over Pakistan at Birmingham yesterday evening. Having scored 319/3 in the first innings, India never let Pakistan off the leash and bowled them out for 164.
Recently, India vs Pakistan games have been heavily in favour of the Men in Blue and they continued their dominance. Pakistan never seemed to have the belief that they could defeat India.
Their bowlers started well but failed to take wickets which meant once Rohit (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) started to accelerate, they wilted like ‘touch-me-not’ plants. Once Dhawan was dismissed off a full toss, Virat Kohli (81*) kept the scoreboard ticking over and kept the innings motoring forward along with Rohit. The latter was unfortunately runout in the nineties but Yuvraj Singh came in played a sensational cameo (32-ball 52). Hardik Pandya helped himself to three sixes in the final over as India finished at 319/3 in an innings which was halted twice due to rain.
Pakistan had to chase 324 but another rain interruption saw the target revised to 281 in 41 overs. However, once Bhuvneshwar trapped Shehzad before the wicket, Pakistan never looked like challenging India’s total. Jadeja was brilliant in breaking Pakistan’s challenge – first with wickets of Azhar Ali and Hafeez and a sensational runout of Shoaib Malik in between. The rest was just formality as Umesh Yadav finished with 4 wickets.
In the end, the contest was a bit underwhelming with Pakistan failing to show up.
Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh