India batsman Yuvraj Singh (r) consoles an injured Pakistan Imad Wasim (c) during the ICC Champions trophy match between India and Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham, June 4. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian captain Virat Kohli said, June 4, he “felt like a club batter” when teammate Yuvraj Singh was in full flow during the ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan in Birmingham, U.K. India launched their campaign in the Champions Trophy with a resounding 124-run victory over Pakistan, extending their dominance over the archrivals in major ICC tournaments.
Defending champions India started their campaign with a resounding 124-run victory over Pakistan.
Kohli and Yuvraj stood out in an all-round batting effort, propelling India to 319 for three after rain halted proceedings twice. Yuvraj smashed 53 off 32 balls.
“Yuvi took pressure off when I couldn’t get runs. The way he was hitting the ball, I felt like a club batter in front of him,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
While he was pleased with the win, Kohli was not impressed with India’s fielding.
“With the bat and ball, right up there – I would say nine out of 10. In the field we were still 6 today. Very strong performance, we’ve taken the confidence from the practice games.
“We need to tighten our fielding to compete hard against the best teams.”
The Indian batsmen remained focussed despite the rain breaks with Rohit Sharma (91 off 119), Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 65), Kohli (81 not out off 68) and Yuvraj (53 off 32) rising to the occasion in a game reduced to 48 overs a side.
Kohli said, “Quite delighted with all batsmen chipping in with runs. Shikhar and Rohit – last time we won here, the opening partnership was crucial. Rohit took some time going, but he’s coming back from an injury, and international cricket is different to IPL.
“And Hardik, 18 off five balls, was outstanding. We went with four seamers purely because we’re playing Pakistan. They play spin really well, and most of them are right-handers.
“In pressure situations, to have mid-on, mid-off up and hit hard lengths, gives us an advantage. Against other sides, we might use two spinners, depending on their strengths.”
Man of the Match Yuvraj was happy that he could capitalise on the chances offered by the Pakistanis.
“I thought we all batted really well. The openers gave us a good start, Virat finished well, and it gave me the opportunity to go and attack. You just have to go and back yourself, and tell the opposition that you’re here to attack.
“I was lucky I was dropped, but I capitalised and I was hitting it well. I finished well. India-Pakistan is always a big game, and I think it has set us up really well. Hopefully we’ll take this confidence into the next game against Sri Lanka.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed felt his side lost the plot in the last overs of the Indian innings.
“Everything was under control after 40 overs, but we lost the plot in the last eight. Credit to India’s batsmen. They scored 124 in those last eight, and the momentum went to India. I think we need to stick together and control our bowling rate, especially last few overs,” a disappointed Sarfraz said.
India Decimate Pakistan, Start Campaign on a High with 124 Run Win
Put in to bat, defending champions India notched up a competitive 319 for three after two rain interruptions reduced the match to 48 overs a side at the Edgbaston.
Set a revised target of 324 in 48 overs at the start of their innings under the Duckworth/Lewis method, Pakistan were required to chase 289 in 41 overs when play resumed after the day’s third rain interruption.
The task proved too much for Pakistan, who were bowled out for 164 in 33.4 overs.
Following the latest result, the teams are locked at 2-2 in the Champions Trophy, but it is India who have won 10 out of the 11 contests at the World Cup and World T20 tournaments between the two sub-continent rivals.
While India were clinical with both the bat and ball, their fielding left a lot to be desired, and Pakistan were worse than the men in blue, giving Yuvraj Singh three lives, besides being sloppy with ground fielding.
When on 37, Azhar Ali was dropped by Bhuvneshwar Kumar running in from long-on.
Hasan Ali’s dismissal by pacer Umesh Yadav (3/30) signaled the end of what was a much-anticipated match, as Wahab Riaz could not bat due to a twisted ankle.
Earlier, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh stood out in an all-round batting effort, propelling India to 319 for three after rain halted proceedings twice in the marquee clash.
Indian batsmen remained focused despite the rain breaks with Rohit Sharma (91 off 119), Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 65), Virat Kohli (81 not out, off 68) and Yuvraj (53 off 32) rising to the occasion in a game reduced to 48 overs a side.
Thanks to the big hitting by Yuvraj, Kohli and Hardik Pandya, India amassed 72 runs in the last four overs with the 46th and 48th going for 21 and 23 runs.
While Kohli punished pacer Riaz, Pandya smashed three consecutive sixes off left-arm spinner Imad Wasim in the final over.
In a match watched by Sachin Tendulkar from the stands, Indian batsmen went on the rampage in the death overs after patiently seeing off two rain breaks.
Play was stopped first when India were 46 for no loss in the 10th over and rain played spoilsport again when they were 173 for one in the 34th over with Rohit and Kohli holding fort.
After Rohit reached his half century, Dhawan too changed gears as he smashed pacer Wahab Riaz for three successive fours before completing his half century.
After the fall of openers, Kohli and Yuvraj took the innings forward. While Kohli was scratchy for a major part of his innings, Yuvraj was in full flow from the word go, hitting the Pakistani bowlers to all parts of the ground.
The stylish southpaw hit eight crisp boundaries and a six in his entertaining knock, while Kohli made up for a sluggish start with a late flourish, ending with six fours and three sixes.
Pakistan were ordinary on the field with Hasan Ali guilty of dropping Yuvraj when he was on 9. A little later, Fakhar Zaman dropped Kohli on 43, eventually hurting Pakistan badly.
When their turn to bat came, Pakistan were never really in the game, losing wickets at regular intervals after a 47- run stand for the first wicket between Azhar Ali (50) and Ahmed Shehzad (12).
Mohammad Hafeez made 33, while the experienced Shoaib Malik, who looked in good nick during his brief stay in the middle, was run out by a brilliant Ravindra Jadeja direct throw from backward point.
Besides Umesh, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja had two wickets each, while Bhuvneshwar provided the first breakthrough.