Sunday, June 4, 2017

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 : India vs Pakistan

India vs Pakistan is always a nerve racking event - in any game, & cricket just keeps getting bigger & bigger between these two countries. The ongoing political tensions add fuel to fire & people all over stay on the edge - & today Edgbaston, Birmingham too had a boisterous crowd from both sides to add colours, as almost the whole of India glued themselves to the TV to follow the proceedings.

Sarfraz won the toss for Pakistan & put India in to bat - Rohit & Dhawan laid a solid foundation putting 136 runs for the opening pair without much of a sweat before Dhawan holed out in the deep for a well made 68. Virat in next looked at ease with Rohit, but then surprisingly the boundaries started to dry as Pakistan bowlers, especially Amir started to get a stranglehold on the scoring. Rohit into his 90s, got run out, looking lazy & not grounding the bat properly, bringing in Yuvi. At that stage, India was clearly struggling with even Virat hitting straight to fielders & runs coming at a trickle. Yuvi was vintage today & raced to his half century off just 29 deliveries to bring back the much needed momentum. He made the most of a spilled catch, early in his innings & made Pakistan pay heavily for this error. It was probably the turning point of the game, into advantage India. The stroke play ignited Virat too as he broke shackles with an over head six & the floodgates opened up. Pandya in next just clobbered three huge sixes in the last over as India amassed 70 odd runs in the last 4 overs to end the innings at 319 for 3 in 48 overs. In the end it was a magnificent batting display, with everyone contributing meaningfully. Rains did come in between to disrupt, but thankfully the match could be played on.

Chasing a real stiff revised target of 289 in 41 overs (D/L method), Pakistan started in earnest with Azhar Ali taking the attack to the Indian camp, but he got little support at the other end, as batsman after batsman struggled to push the scoring rate. Indian bowlers though pitching short were generally accurate & Pakistan lacked experience to counter this bowling, as wickets tumbled. There were brief cameos by Azhar Ali, Md Hafeez, Shoaib Malik & Capt Sarfraz, but none could go the distance as the asking rate kept creeping up steadily.
Indian fielding was atrocious to say the least, as runs leaked in the deep, run outs missed, & catches dropped galore - it was difficult to believe such drop in standards. India will have to seriously introspect this bit, as any other team would make them pay heavily in the tournament. Barring Jadeja & to some extent Pandya & Virat, almost all were struggling. As Virat said at the end of the game, it was dismal.
Pakistan however, could not capitalise on these lapses & folded in for only164 runs (Wahab did not come into bat), giving India a huge win by 124 runs. Umesh Yadav picked up 3 wickets, while Pandya & Jadeja chipped in with two apiece.
It was good to get a full match, despite three breaks due to rains & the crowd got their money's worth.
India was clearly the better team, & continued their dominance over Pakistan with another big imperious win, as Yuvraj Singh took the Man of Match award. India's record against Pakistan in ICC tournaments now stands at 13-2.