The most iconic fixture in world cricket is finally here with exciting personal battles, breathtaking performances, and amazing moments. The Narendra Modi Stadium was the stage for the latest version of the epic saga to unfurl. India and Pakistan both teams started the tournament in perfect fashion, both teams won their first two games. India had an impeccable record against their arch-rivals at World Cups: winning each of the seven games. The titanic clash between the two titans is one that cricket enthusiasts all over the world relish, cherish, and crave.
Team India made one alteration to their playing eleven with Ishan Kishan making way for the returning Shubman Gill. Pakistan fielded their winning combination that picked an impressive win under tough conditions against Sri Lanka.
- Rohit Sharma (Cap.) 2. Shubman Gill 3. Virat Kohli 4. Shreyas Iyer 5. KL Rahul (WK) 6. Hardik Pandya 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Shardul Thakur 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Jasprit Bumrah 11. Mohammad Siraj
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Imam-Ul-Haq 3. Babar Azam (Cap.) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5. Saud Shakeel 6. Iftikhar Ahmed 7. Shadab Khan 8. Mohammad Rizwan 9. Hasan Ali 10. Shaheen Afridi 11. Haris Rauf
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the coin toss and decided to bowl first on an intriguing Ahmedabad surface.
Captaincy & Tactics
Rohit Sharma showed cricketing acumen by using his bowlers well. He brought back Mohammed Siraj to attack the Pakistani batters’ stumps. Siraj repaid the faith by dismissing Babar Azam with a brilliant delivery. Indian pacers were taking the pace off the ball which created persistent problems for the batters. Kuldeep Yadav bowled quickly and made the Pakistani batters uncomfortable.
Pakistan wanted to attack the Indian batsmen as well. But they couldn’t do it by erring on line and length throughout their innings. Babar Azam was left with little choice but to use his spin bowlers sparingly.
Pakistan had started well and was playing the ball well early in the innings. The top-order batters played 65% of the ball on the front foot, typifying the confidence. They also had 86% control over their shots. Babar Azam put on a show with some classic cover drives. The Pakistani skipper played 78% of his shots with a straight bat. Mohammad Rizwan was also looking comfortable out in the middle.
The batting meltdown occurred after Babar was removed by an excellent delivery from Siraj. They lost their final 8 wickets for just 36 runs. The lower-order batters only timed 12% of the balls. Hasan Ali was the only one that got into double figures from the last 7 batsmen.
Rohit Sharma missed out on his 8th World Cup century but his display of power and efficiency will be remembered for a long time. The god of pull shots brought his repertoire of batting skills out and pummelled the bowlers all around the ground. Sharma had a resounding 86% control over his shots, a testament to the man’s brilliance.
Shubman Gill was timing the ball perfectly until a chipped shot to point. Virat Kohli also got out cheaply. But Shreyas Iyer was back to his best, there was an aura of swagger about the Mumbai native. They put on a drive to great use by scoring 13 runs and a massive over long-on. Indian lower middle order is yet to bat in this tournament due to the domination of the early batters.
Mohammed Siraj went for plenty early on, he was attacking the stumps in pursuit of a wicket. 64% of his balls in the first spell were on the stump line. The Hyderabadi bowler was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Abdullah Shafique. Bumrah looked menacing early on with his swing, the batters left 27% of his deliveries from the first spell. Eventually, Hardik Pandya came to the attack to remove Imam with the help of some movement off the pitch.
Kuldeep Yadav was again clocking at 90 km/h, his deliveries zipping at the batsmen to put them on the back foot. He picked up two wickets to continue his impressive start to the World Cup. Kuldeep has been a recurring nightmare for Pakistan, an astounding average of 14.32 is proof of his efficacy against the Pakistanis.
Hardik Pandya bowled fast and his variety often bamboozled the batsmen. His hard work with the knuckleball is finally paying dividends, it is becoming harder for the batsmen to read those balls before the actual delivery. Bumrah returned to pick up two wickets by giving away only 19 runs.
Shaheen Afridi is the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with 2 wickets. But their spinners struggled once again, with 78 conceded from 75 balls. They looked ordinary and docile – a cause of massive headache for the Pakistani camp. Once Rohit Sharma got going, the runs at the board were never going to be enough.
India is an excellent fielding side with some world-class athletes at their disposal. They performed immaculately and helped the bowlers to pile on the pressure. Rahul, Bumrah, and Gill hold on to their chances to continue the tumble of wickets resulting in a collapse.
Shadab Khan is by far the best Pakistani fielder, he took a sharp catch at point to dismiss Gill. Iftikhar took one at mid-on to send back the rampant Rohit. The ground fielding of the Pakistani team has been poor in this tournament and the sloppiness was there for all to see.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were the only two Pakistani batsmen who got some runs to their name on a dismal-looking batting scorecard. All of the Indian bowlers except Thakur got two wickets each. Bumrah was exceptional with his pace and swing, Kuldeep was reinventing himself with added pace, Hardik was canny with his variety, Siraj was rapid and direct, and Jadeja was excellent with some drift off the track.
Rohit Sharma ripped through the Pakistani bowling lineup with an attack right from the start. He will feel aggrieved after missing out on another World Cup century. Shreyas Iyer scored a composed fifty to guide Team India home.
After losing Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were building a solid partnership. They were playing the ball along the ground taking minimal risk. Pakistan was batting at a score of 155/2. Babar Azam looked to be in perfect touch with a well-compiled fifty. Then on the 4th ball of the 30th over, Mohammad Siraj zipped one back towards the off stump. Babar wanted to guide it toward the third-man region, but the ball kept low. He missed the ball and it hit the off stump. Pakistan lost their inspirational captain and it all went downhill from there.
Team India demolished their arch-rivals by a huge margin of 7 wickets with 117 balls to spare.
Player of the Match
Jasprit Bumrah was announced to be the man of the match for his impressive figure of 2/19 from 7 overs.
|Pakistan Total: 191/10 (42.5 overs)||India 192/3 (30.3 overs)|
|Babar Azam 50 (58)||Rohit Sharma 86 (63)|
|Mohammad Rizwan 49 (69)||Shreyas Iyer 53 (62)|
|Jasprit Bumrah 2/19||Shaheen Afridi 2/36|
|Hardik Pandya 2/34||Hasan Ali 1/34|
The game promised so much but failed to deliver once more in terms of being an even contest. Jasprit Bumrah and co. brought about a sensational collapse of the Pakistani batting line-up, sending them packing before reaching the 200 mark. Rohit Sharma was at his scintillating best to make a cakewalk out of the run chase. India now sits at the top by winning all of their opening three games. Pakistan will have to regroup and look for solutions before their next game on Friday against Australia.