AHMEDABAD: Rohit Sharma’s quickfire 86 after a combined effort from the bowlers led India to a dominant seven-wicket victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in the high-octane ICC World Cup 2023 clash on Saturday.
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.
Pakistan, at one stage, were looking in a strong position to amass the 300-run mark, but a middle-order collapse, resulted in them bowling out at a meagre total.
Pakistan openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq gave a steady start after being put into bat first at the picturesque Narendra Modi Stadium here.
The pair appeared in command before former top-ranked pacer Mohammed Siraj trapped Pakistan’s last-match centurion Abdullah Shafique plumb in the eighth over.
The right-handed opener could score 20 in 24 deliveries, hitting three boundaries.
Meanwhile, Imam-ul-Haq put together a brief 32-run partnership with Pakistan captain Babar Azam before Hardik Pandya got him caught behind in the 13th over. He scored a 38-ball 36 with the help of six boundaries.
Pakistan skipper Babar was then joined by in-form wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Rizwan and they anchored the innings for Pakistan with a gutsy stand.
The duo of Babar and Rizwan added an important 82 runs, amassing his maiden ODI half-century against India in the process.
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He reached his half-century in just 57 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries and ended a five-match streak without a fifty-plus score.
Babar Azam was eventually cleaned up by Mohammed Siraj on the next delivery which opened the floodgates for Pakistan.
The green shirts lost momentum after Babar’s dismissal and ran into a huge collapse with their other set batter Mohammad Rizwan also perishing in the midst.
He remained a notable run-getter for Pakistan with 49 off 69 deliveries, laced up with seven boundaries.
Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for just 32 runs and were eventually bundled out on 191 after Hasan Ali’s brief retaliation with a 19-ball 12.