India see off rivals Pakistan

Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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India began their World Cup title defence with a 76-run victory over Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday.

The 2011 winners, who have now triumphed in all six of their World Cup encounters against their fierce rivals, were indebted to Virat Kohli’s century and fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina as India made 300 for seven from their 50 overs despite Sohail Khan’s five for 55 .

Pakistan made a decent start in reply but were the architects of their own downfall as they slipped from 102 for two to 224 all out. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored a well-crafted half-century, but it ultimately counted for nothing as India ran out comfortable winners.

India made a sluggish start to their innings and Rohit Sharma had made only 15 when he attempted to pull a Sohail delivery that was simply not short enough to do so.

The India opener succeeded only top-edging to the off-side and Misbah ran in from mid off to take a simple catch.

Kohli joined Dhawan at the crease and the pair put on 129 runs in just over 22 overs for the second wicket, during which time both reached their half-centuries.

Dhawan reached his 12th ODI fifty but was soon trudging back to the pavilion having been run out by Ahmed Shehzad for 73 in the 30th over after Kohli rejected his request for a quick single.

Kohli was dropped on 76 in the 32nd over but punched their air with delight 11 overs later when he reached his 22nd ODI century and second against Pakistan. Only Sachin Tendulkar, with 49, has scored more ODI tons for India than Kohli.

Two balls later, Raina was raising his bat to acknowledge reaching fifty but their partnership was broken in the 46th over when Kohli charged Sohail and succeeded only in edging behind. His 127-ball innings yielded 107 runs, with eight fours.

India’s innings stuttered to a conclusion once Kohli’s resistance had ended, with Raina mistiming a Sohail short ball to be caught at cover and Ravindra Jadeja bowled by Wahab Riaz to leave India five down.

India’s hopes of surpassing 300 were in jeopardy when Sohail dismissed Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane with successive balls to claim his fourth and fifth wickets but, after successfully negotiating the hat-trick delivery, Mohammed Shami hit two runs off the final ball of their innings as India made 300 for seven from their 50 overs.

Pakistan’s innings was just three overs old when Younus Khan edged Shami behind, but Shehzad and Haris Sohail made steady progress as Pakistan reached 67 without further loss after 15 overs.

India made a second breakthrough at the end of the 18th over when Haris (36) edged Ravichandran Ashwin to first slip, and Shehzad, after surviving a run-out scare soon after, took Pakistan past 100 but then fell three runs shy of an 11th ODI half-century when he picked out Jadeja in the field to give Yadav his first wicket.

Pakistan’s collapse began two balls later when Sohaib Maqsood chased a wide, short Yadav delivery and succeeded only in edging to Raina in the slips as Pakistan slumped to 102 for four.

Pakistan had only added one run to their total when Umar Akmal became their fifth batsman dismissed, nicking Jadeja behind. India’s appeals were initially waved away but the decision was overturned when Dhoni chose to review.

Misbah and Shahid Afridi were Pakistan’s last real hope of getting anywhere near India’s total, but the 1992 World Cup winners suffered a further blow when Shami removed Afridi and Wahab in the 35th over to leave Pakistan reeling at 154 for seven.

Misbah pocketed his 39th ODI half-century with some last-gasp resistance but the game was up in the 46th over when, three overs after Yasir Shah fell for 13, the skipper holed out to Rahane in the deep to give Shami his fourth victim.

Misbah’s 84-ball knock of 76, which featured nine fours and a six, proved in vain as India wrapped up victory in the very next over when number 10 Sohail fell to Mohit Sharma.

Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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