India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Edgbaston June 4, 2017

India thrash sloppy Pakistan by 124 runs

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India 319 for 3 (Rohit 91, Kohli 81*, Dhawan 68, Yuvraj 53) beat Pakistan 164 (Azhar 50, Umesh 3-30) by 124 runs (DLS method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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For what can be significant part of a match against many other teams, India were not at their best in the first match of their title defence. Yet, confirming how far Pakistan have fallen behind modern limited-overs cricket, they won by a whopping 124 runs. Even if Pakistan had not grappled with the age-old problem of dropped catches - Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli plundered 45 off 24 and 38 off 12 after being reprieved - Pakistan might have still had to chase 280, which on the evidence of their batting might have been a handful. Thanks to the fielding lapses, all of India's top four scored half-centuries - only the third time for them - to set Pakistan 324, which, given their batting, was pretty much game over.

The first two to score fifties for India were reuniting at the top after 17 months, having started the partnership four years ago, in the same tournament, in the same country, with instant success. Success was instant on reunion as the two added India's first hundred opening stand against a top-eight ODI side since they themselves did it last January. The platform of 136 runs in 24.3 overs between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan was strong enough to survive a mid-innings slowdown, especially when Yuvraj and Kohli punished the generous Pakistan by taking 89 runs in the last six overs.

At various times, though, Pakistan could have held India back. The match began with Mohammad Amir beating Rohit Sharma's bat three times in a maiden over, but the next ball was bowled by Imad Wasim and misfielded at point to sum up Pakistan's day. There is no data to suggest India might struggle against unsubtle left-arm spin early in the innings, but Rohit, Dhawan, and later Kohli, got a soft start to their innings through Imad's welcome. It might be safe to presume Pakistan wanted to get rid of Imad's overs when India were taking it easy: since the 2015 World Cup, they had scored 4.95 an over in the first 10. Imad wasn't hit out of the park - his first eight overs went for 43 - but India's batsmen got set with no threat to their wickets.

And soon enough, both Dhawan and Rohit began to hit. It was, in many ways, a typical Rohit-Dhawan partnership. Rohit started off slowly and took a large share of the early strike, then he opened up, then Dhawan went big, and Rohit then set up his stall for a long innings even as Dhawan perished. Rohit got going with languid punches with Pakistan's lengths letting him sit back, and Dhawan took a shine to the error-prone Wahab Riaz, scoring 23 off 12 balls from him. Rohit's ascent was more gradual than Dhawan's, who went from 12 off 22 to 50 off 48. He then put a full toss straight down deep midwicket's throat. Pakistan went back to Imad immediately.

A curiously slow partnership - 56 in 12.1 overs - followed between Rohit and Kohli. Having got two more Imad overs out of the way, Pakistan went to Amir and Hasan Ali from the 30th over onwards. This is when India were pulled back. A rain break didn't help. The bowling was accurate, but India didn't go out of their way to hit either. These overs - from around 25 to 40 - can be the difference between 300 and 325, which can be crucial in matches against stronger opposition. Here India scored 75 in those 15 overs.

In his 90s, Rohit was run out failing to keep his bat down as he dived. For a moment it seemed Pakistan's out-and-out defensive tactics might work. They had their best bowlers on when India were looking to break free, and the frustration had given them an opening. For defensive tactics to work in modern ODIs, though, you need fielders on your side and you need to keep at it for the duration of the innings. Pakistan couldn't manage either.

Yuvraj had just come in, and had been given a couple of short balls before a Shadab Khan wrong'un brought about an easy - by international standards - catch for long-off. Hasan dropped it. Mayhem followed. Playing his first ODI in 10 years in a country where he played perhaps his most famous innings back in 2002, Yuvraj unleashed sensational checked drives to beat fielders all over the ground. The endeavour was not to look for power but for timing, and he was not too fussed about the odd dot ball when the bowlers bounced him. At the other end, though, Kohli still struggled for timing, and would have been out with a strike rate of under 80 but Fakhar Zaman, substituting for Amir who had walked off mid-over with cramps, dropped him off Wahab.

Wahab's nightmare continued as his length remained all over the place. Injury was added to insult as he did his ankle but not before registering the most expensive analysis in the Champions Trophy: 87 in 8.1 overs. Poor Imad had to come back - in the absence of two frontline bowlers - to be hit for three successive sixes by Hardik Pandya in the last over of the innings.

This was all too much for a struggling batting unit, which has been able to win them only one of the last 13 matches against top-eight sides in which their bowlers have conceded over 250. There was hope, but only for about half an hour when it rained. The moment the rain relented to leave Pakistan 289 to get in 41 overs, it was back to despair for them even though India were a little sloppy in the fielding, dropping two catches, missing a couple of run-outs, and letting the odd ball slide through their reach.

Only three batsmen managed to play 20 balls, and because these batsmen did so at strike rates of 77, 55 and 77, the others were obliged to play high-risk cricket and give India a sixth straight win over them in ICC events.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Afridi6210859 on June 18, 2017, 17:39 GMT

    This is a rise of a new Pakistani with new captain SARFARAZ welldone guys we are proud of you

  • Tahir on June 7, 2017, 12:18 GMT

    A 300 is a norm in this tournament and India needed bad bowling from Wahab to cross 300. There are more potent bowling units in the tournament where India will most likely struggle to cross that 300 mark.

  • ali on June 6, 2017, 5:08 GMT

    I don't agree with your title. :-0 It ought to be "Inept and helpless Pakistan". Sorry but that is how it is!

  • mohank7715870 on June 6, 2017, 3:48 GMT

    @SAIFULLAH Farooqi, not really :) they tried hard to match, but couldn't. There were some good bits too. Btw, did you see Malik's run out? Stop pick up and throw, all in one motion. That's what good fielders do, and Jadeja is as good as any. Maybe Pakistan should get a consult with Ijaz to improve close in fielding.

  • jasprit on June 5, 2017, 21:32 GMT

    ANKURSHARMA0702 ON JUNE 5, 2017, 20:25 GMT..... Ankur Sharma...very well said. I was thinking exactly the same thing for last 2 days. They need to have some teams visiting, and play some quality Cricket in front of school kids. Have a good structure that produces quality. But I could not have said it better myself. Cheers!

  • Sin on June 5, 2017, 20:41 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I am really disappointed with India vs Pak / SL matches in the last 5 years. Rarely do I see a competition and Pak / SL usually succumb without a fight. If India loses, it looks more like an aberration than opponents good performance. Comeon Pakistan! Indians want you to give us a fight so that we can enjoy positive rivalry. The thought of Asia cup is giving me a yaaawwwn!

  • Ankur Sharma on June 5, 2017, 20:25 GMT

    You can't improve any sports until it is played on your home soil. Everything is connected. First reestablish the brand of cricket in Pakistan, create the sense of confidence and security on tours so that teams are encouraged to tour pak (at least others if not India), third take strick actions against match fixers give no scope of redemption, you forgave Amir and see again players are involved and then when you fix all these things i am one hundred percent sure quality will improve and thus cricket will improve in pak. And to achieve that do whatever it takes, roll as many heads as required, even if it is required to remove 70% of the team do it, as you sow , so shall your reap. PCB must think of a better future,in a few years people will forget these matches so work towards the development of the cricket for future generations and not to think of short term profit. Peace.

  • mohammad on June 5, 2017, 20:09 GMT

    To Inzamam: What is your reaction to your comment," This team can beat India and can compete for the title" To Sarfaraz: We have noting to loose, we are no 8. True, no 8, but you played like no 10. Afganistan could do better the Pak players. to cricinfo experts: Pakistan always has good fast bowlers who can cause troubles. Truth, Pak bowlers are worst than Bangladesh and WI bowlers. Next world cup or ICC. Top 5 teams for grade 1 matches, bottom 5 fro grade 2 competition.

  • simonp3164620 on June 5, 2017, 19:24 GMT

    Very happy to see pakistan get thrashed.. Congrats to India from Bangladesh

  • mukesh on June 5, 2017, 18:30 GMT

    @cricfan14767596 there are all kind of players, Touch players , genuine athletes , skilled ones and power players . As you said if power players win everything then so called Asian countries should have empty cupboard at ICC events. Murali shouldn't hold highest wickets and Sachin shouldn't be holding highest runs? May be according to you Murali and Sachin were most powerful players to have ever been a spinner or batsmen ;) Go find some other forums to troll . India won this game graciously and games you have mentioned are always tough SA, Australia. What you did forget is there is more chances for England and New Zealand to play against India and w.r.t physical condition they too have "big" players.