An Overview on the Last Match between India Vs Pakistan
The drinks were out, the snacks stocked, and all other engagements cancelled, as India and Indians worldwide waited with bated breath for the India-Pakistan encounter on June 16 at the ICC World Cup 2019. A strong Indian team with the aggressive and in-form Virat Kohli at the helm as captain, and the experience and maturity of the 2011 World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni by his side, had raised expectations all around that India has a good shot at the World Cup win this time too. On the other hand, Pakistan had also seen a lot of support back home, after the match winning performance that resulted in the shock defeat of tournament favourites England by 14 runs on June 3. So, the question on everybody’s mind was – will Pakistan spoil India’s dream run in the tournament?
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmad won the toss at Old Trafford, Manchester and asked India to bat first, contrary to the advice of former cricketer and current Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Twitter. Though he got trolled for this decision, many cricket fans feel that perhaps it was in tune with the weather conditions. Everyone kept praying to keep the clouds at bay, hoping to catch the TRP worthy fireworks of an India- Pakistan match. In the absence of an injured Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul joined Rohit Sharma to open the innings. Starting cautiously, the two openers went on to make 136 runs opening wicket partnership. It is India’s highest partnership against Pakistan at the World Cup. Rohit Sharma notched his 24th ODI hundred and 2nd in this World Cup (140 off 113, 14×4, 3×6). He also became the first Indian batsman to score back to back centuries against Pakistan in ODIs (earlier 111 not out in Asia Cup at Dubai in September 2018). KL Rahul (57) and Virat Kohli (77 off 65) helped India pile up a score of 336/5. This is the highest total ever compiled by India against Pakistan in a World Cup match. Moreover, this is also the highest total ever posted by any team against Pakistan in the World Cup. In addition, during his innings, Virat Kohli became the fastest player to reach 11,000 ODI runs milestone. Pakistan tried as much as seven bowlers, but only Mohammad Amir could bowl sensibly and notch up success with 3 wickets for 47 runs.
In response, Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) put together a 104 runs partnership for the second wicket. However, once Kuldeep Yadav bowled Babar Azam with a beauty of a spinning ball, Pakistan team started tumbling. Thereafter, Pakistan team quickly reduced from 117/1 to 129/5 within the span of three and a half overs. When rain stopped the play after 35 overs, Pakistan found itself struggling at 166/6. When the play resumed, overs were reduced to 40 and with Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, the target was revised to 302. Thus, Pak team had a near impossible target of another 136 runs in only 5 overs. The match was reduced to a formality at that juncture. In the end, Pakistan team could manage to reach only 212/6 and lost the match by 89 runs. For his 140, Rohit Sharma was declared Player of the Match. Consequently, in the World Cup India – Pak rivalry, scoreboard now reads 7-0. And Pakistan have to win their next four matches if they want to remain in contention for the World Cup.
In the end, it can be said that the off and on downpour at Old Trafford proved to be a real spoiler. Pakistan team were not even a shadow of the team that had displayed so much spirit and determination against England just a few days back, and their performance remained lacklustre in this match. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a one-sided match, with India displaying all the momentum towards winning the ICC World Cup 2019. As Shahid Afridi later commented on Twitter, “The standard of cricket being played (by the Indian team) has been exceptionally high & credit goes to IPL for not only helping identify & harness talent, but also in equipping younger players with pressure handling techniques.”
Needless to say, those drinks and Nachos will now have to be saved for the next big day, India vs England on June 30. Till then, fans just have to bide their time.