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“Babar and Rizwan were timid,” says Hardik Pandya

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AHMEDABAD: India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya commented on Pakistan’s dismal performance with the bat against arch-rivals India on Saturday, asserting that Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were timid amid their partnership.

Pakistan, at one stage, were looking in a strong position to amass the 300-run mark. The tide changed when skipper Babar Azam was dismissed for 50 by India pacer Mohammed Siraj.

It sparked a collapse and the side were dismissed for just 191.

Hardik Pandya said he knew India was in the game as Pakistan captain Babar Azam and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan settled the side with a timid batting approach.

“Babar [Azam] and [Mohammad] Rizwan were timid,” Hardik Pandya said. “They didn’t take any chances, which is why we thought we were always in the game. There wasn’t much in the pitch for the bowlers. They didn’t try going for shots or attack us, which is why we were able to bowl dot balls.

“I have seen that if two players bat in the same way, if one gets out, then it opens up a lot of doors.”

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Set to chase a modest 192, India comfortably knocked off the winning runs for the loss of just three wickets and 117 balls to spare.

Indian captain Rohit Sharma gave his side a flying start despite his opening partner Shubman Gill (16) perished cheaply in the third over with just 26 runs on the board.

Rohit then put together a one-sided 56-run partnership with Virat Kohli, who could score a mere 16 before falling victim to Hasan Ali in the 10th over.

Meanwhile, Kohli’s dismissal did not hurt India much as Rohit continued his onslaught and took India past the 150-run mark in 21 overs.

He, however, remained unlucky to not be able to convert his dominant knock into his eighth World Cup ton as he finally fell in the 22nd over.

Rohit Sharma top-scored for India with a brisk 63-ball 86 which featured six boundaries and as many sixes.

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Shreyas Iyer took the reigns of India’s pursuit after Rohit’s dismissal and knitted a match-winning 36-run partnership with KL Rahul, who scored 19 not out.

Iyer remained a notable contributor in India’s pursuit with an unbeaten half-century. His 62-ball 53 featured three boundaries and two sixes.

For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged two wickets while Hasan Ali made one scalp.

READ: Gurbaz, Ikram power Afghanistan to 284 against holders England

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