It was a thoroughly comprehensive performance by India as they thrashed Pakistan by 8 wickets to ensure that they qualify for the final of the tournament with a match to go. It was an exhibition of batting by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as they made light work of the target set by Pakistan. Earlier in the day, it was a good bowling performance by India which restricted Pakistan to just 237 runs.
After batting first Pakistan posted a competitive total of 237 runs on the board in their allotted 50 overs. The Indian bowlers were on the mark from the start and never really allowed the Pakistan batsmen to get after them. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq began well but couldn’t quite get the required runs in the powerplay overs.
Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman didn’t start briskly. Fakhar was finding the middle of the bat. However, he failed to find the gaps and get the much-needed boundaries in the powerplay overs. After a 24 runs partnership between Fakhar and Imam, it was a great piece of the decision taken by MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to go for a review jointly.
Yuzvendra Chahal trapped Imam right in front of the stumps. The on-field umpire, however, ruled it in favour of the batting team. After getting the nod from MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma went for the review and replays shows the ball would have crashed onto the top of the off stump. Fakhar Zaman played a few lusty shots before falling to Kuldeep Yadav.
Shoaib Malik played a great knock and was instrumental in helping Pakistan go past the 200 mark quite easily. He carried on from where he left in the match against Afghanistan. Malik smashed 78 of 90 deliveries which helped Pakistan rebuild their innings. He shared a great partnership with Sarfaraz Ahmed and ensured Pakistan reached a competitive total.
The Indian bowlers were quite superb in the death overs and eventually restricted them to a below par score of 237 runs. For India Jaspirt Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bagged 2 wickets each to have a dominating first half. In the 2nd innings, it was all about Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Both smashed magnificent centuries as India romped home by 9 wickets in the end.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan looked in complete control of proceedings. They produced a special display of batsmanship and shared a 210 runs stand between them. Shikhar Dhawan showed yet again why he is regarded so highly in the limited overs version. Dhawan was in complete control of proceedings. He smashed 16 fours and a couple of sixes during his knock of 114. Rohit Sharma also smashed his 19th ODI hundred as India chased the target down with utmost ease. Both the batsmen struck some audacious shots to ensure India reached the target with utmost ease in the end.
Here is what captain and Man of the Match Rohit Sharma said at the post-match presentation
“Challenging conditions, well done to the boys. All of them showed great amount of character. We spoke about leaving past performances behind and give out our best today and that is what happened. I think he’s matured as a bowler now, he understands his bowling and I think he understands what fields he needs to set and gotta keep it tight. Bhuvi also did the same. It was important to keep it tight and the spinners also did the same. When you keep them in control that’s the kind of targets you get to chase.
When Hardik got injured, the challenge was to field four spinners and we thought about a few combinations and in these conditions, it is important to bowl spin. The entire bowling unit stuck to their task and hats off to them. With Shikhar I don’t need to talk much. We have batted enough to know each other and our roles. We always knew that the new batsman will find it hard to settle and Shikhar and I knew it. Nothing is easy. I’ve really worked hard on those shots. It’s important to put pressure on bowlers. They have one of the best bowling attacks. We understand the importance of the new ball.”