Pakistan’s World Cup jinx against India continued in Manchester on Sunday, with yet another loss to the Men in Blue. India meanwhile extended their unbeaten run in the ongoing ICC World Cup, with wins against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan (the game against New Zealand was washed out).
Rain clouds loomed large over Old Trafford prompting Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to opt to field first after winning the toss, against the advice of former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan, who tweeted this earlier in the day:
Mohammad Amir began with a maiden over, but as the openers settled, it was yet another run-fest for India. They went on to score 336/5 in 50 overs - the highest total by any team against Pakistan in a World Cup, surpassing England’s 334/9 in Nottingham earlier in the tournament.
Pakistan’s batsmen never really got going. Fakhar Zaman (62 off 75 balls) and Babar Azam (48 off 57 balls) put up some resistance but it was the Indian bowlers who dominated the rain interrupted second session. A mediocre display by Pakistan saw India cantering to an 89-run win (Duckworth-Lewis method).
Here are some of the highlights.
Match tossed away?
Pakistan perhaps lost the match in the first ten overs itself. Winning the toss and electing to field first, they failed to take advantage of the overcast conditions at Old Trafford. This is the first time a toss-winning captain has not opted to bat first in an India-Pakistan World Cup clash.
“I think we won a good toss. I think we didn’t capitalize – when we saw the pitch, (there was) a little bit of moisture on the pitch, we used the conditions. I think we didn’t hit the right areas and credit goes to Rohit as well. He played really well today,” said Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed after the match.
Pakistan have made six changes in three games since their opening match and none of them have been due to injuries. Clearly, there is plenty for them to discuss in the dressing room if they are to come together as a unit and make it to the knockout stage.
Rohit Sharma is having a dream run at the 2019 ICC World Cup with scores of 122*, 57 and 140 in three matches. His century against Pakistan was a much classier affair than the scrappy knock in India’s opener against South Africa, as he and KL Rahul put on a 136-run first wicket stand - the highest for any wicket against Pakistan in a World Cup.
“It’s a very good phase in my life. Having a daughter, a newly born daughter in my life actually has put me in a good space. So, yeah, I think I’m enjoying my cricket coming off a great IPL campaign and then starting off here,” said Rohit after the match.
Rohit’s 140 off 113 balls is also the second highest individual score against Pakistan in World Cups.
KL Rahul (57 off 78 balls) and Virat Kohli (77 off 65 balls) also played handy knocks in India’s 336/5, with the skipper reaching the milestone of 11000 ODI runs.
Bhuvneshwar out for 2-3 matches
India received another big injury blow when pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was forced to leave the field having bowled just 2.4 overs, due to a hamstring injury.
He is expected to miss India’s match against Afghanistan on June 22, against West Indies on June 27 and possibly the big clash against England on June 30.
Pakistan’s poor performance
The pitch was flat and India were without one of their two main fast bowlers, Bhuvneshwar. However, Pakistan’s batsmen failed to take advantage. Apart from a 104-run second-wicket stand between Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, Pakistan were never really in the chase.
They went from 117/2 to a dismal 165/6 with Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav taking 2 wickets each.
“I think the whole team is not performing well in all three departments. I think we’re not playing well in all the departments, not fielding, bowling, or batting,” said skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.
A 40-minute spell of rain later in the day took 10 overs off the chase and when play resumed Pakistan needed 130 in 30 balls, with four wickets in hand. They eventually finished at 212/6 in 40 overs, handing the Men in Blue an 89-run win (D/L method) and extending India’s World Cup domination over their neighbours to 7-0.