ICC ODI WC 2023: India extends World Cup stranglehold over … – Moneycontrol

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Rohit Sharma and his team gave their countrymen an auspicious start to the Navratri festival starting on Sunday, winning what has been labelled as the mother of all matches, the India-Pakistan ODI World Cup match one more time. Contrary to all the expectations leading up to the game, it eventually turned out to be another lop-sided affair, with the Men in Blue extending their dominant start to this World Cup campaign to three wins out of three matches; all three were won chasing the target.
However, the 7-wicket win for India was not without its share of drama, especially in the Pakistan innings before the Indian bowlers once again combined well to restrict the opposition to their third-lowest total in eight World Cup matches between the two sides.
Match Report: ICC World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma leads India to big win against Pakistan
For the second consecutive match, lead Indian pacer Mohammad Siraj ended up as the most expensive bowler for India. Following his 0/76 in nine overs against Afghanistan in New Delhi last Wednesday, the right-arm from Hyderabad, who produced a dream spell of 6/21 in the recent Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in September, conceded 50 runs from his eight overs against Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
However, if not for Siraj, India may have been chasing a target that would have been a lot more than the 192 they eventually settled down for, getting there in just 30.3 overs to extend their stranglehold on Pakistan in all World Cups to eight wins in eight clashes dating back to 1992.
Siraj erred in his line repeatedly, straying down the leg side often to give Pakistan left-handed opener Imam ul Haq easy boundaries behind square on the on-side, as he conceded three fours to the southpaw in his first over. However, it was the same Siraj who gave the initial breakthrough, trapping Abdullah Shafique, a centurion in the previous match against Sri Lanka, in his fourth over.
Playing in front of the largest crowd ever for an India-Pakistan match – easily in excess of one lakh vociferous Indian fans, though no official attendance number could be confirmed at the time of going to the press, beating the previous record of 90,293 in last year’s T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – the team from across the border looked set for a score in excess of 300. Pakistan’s two most dependable batsmen, captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Md Rizwan, looked set to take their team past 300.
Collapse after a solid foundation
The two premier batsmen kept the Indian bowlers at bay by raising 82 in 103 balls for the third wicket. Rizwan and Azam are known for building big partnerships across all formats. While they have been most successful in T20Is, sharing 2,708 runs at 50.14 with nine centuries and 11 half-centuries, they have raised 656 at 43.73 in Tests with two hundreds and four fifties. On Saturday, they posted their sixth fifty-plus stand to go with three centuries and took their partnership tally to 1,049 runs in ODIs at 65.56.
However, no sooner had Azam reached his maiden fifty against India in ODIs than Siraj provided the vital breakthrough with one that angled in and disturbed the top of his off-stump. There began the Pakistan decline as they lost eight wickets for 36 runs in 13.2 overs, slipping from 155 for two to 191 all out.
Also Read: ‘Vande Mataram’: India reacts to big win against Pakistan as Rohit Sharma sizzles in Ahmedabad
It was yet another brilliant bowling display by India, their third such effort in as many matches in this World Cup. All the bowlers combined well to share the honours barring Shardul Thakur, who went wicketless in his two overs on the day. If it was Siraj who saw the back of Azam, left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav struck twice in his eighth over, the seventh of his extended second spell that read 9-0-27-2 after giving away eight runs in his first one-over spell. Yadav’s victims included the dangerous big-hitting Iftikhar Ahmed, who made his intentions clear by pulling a Kuldeep short ball for four earlier. However, in going for a sweep, Ahmed was bowled round his legs with the ball deflecting off his glove to the stumps.
Cleaning up the tail
Bumrah returned to the attack for his second spell and removed the well-set Rizwan for 49. Rizwan has been in terrific form of late, scoring a match-winning 131 not out against Sri Lanka in their previous match and 68 in the first match against The Netherlands. Add the unbeaten 86 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup and Rizwan has amassed 285 runs at an average of 285 in his last three ODI innings.
However, it was Bumrah who provided yet another breakthrough and did not let Pakistan batsmen settle down. He brought the ball in marginally with a slower one to castle Rizwan through the gates. Bumrah took the ball away from Shadab Khan to disturb the off-stump and have Pakistan in a deep spot of bother.
The fast bowler was India’s unsung hero in the win against Afghanistan, picking up four wickets on a flat Arun Jaitley Stadium surface that had runs written all over it. Bumrah took four for 39 against Afghanistan and played a major role in restricting Afghanistan to a total that was easily surpassed by India with plenty to spare.
“I just go with my preparation. I go with the process that I feel is right. I try to read the pitches and try to find the best answers that work on that (particular) pitch,” Bumrah had said after the match against Afghanistan.
Bumrah’s method worked for all the other Indian bowlers as well against Pakistan. The preparations were perfect and the execution of the plans were precise so Rohit’s bowlers managed to dismiss Pakistan to under 200.
Talking Points: Rohit Sharma sizzles with big sixes, bowlers put in a team effort
The bowlers made it easy for the Indian batsmen led by Rohit, who was at his devastating best top-scoring with 86 (63), as India put up yet another dominating performance not only in this World Cup but also against Pakistan in the quadrennial event.
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