Pakistan gave further validation of how their win in the Champions Trophy final was a happy accident with a nine-wicket mauling at the hands of arch-rivals, India.
Rohit Sharma (112) and Shikhar Dhawan (114) crafted a masterly 210 run opening stand- highest vs Pakistan surpassing 159-run stand, by Sachin Tendulkar & Sourav Ganguly, to take India to their second win over Pakistan in the 2018 Asia Cup.
Pakistan’s fielding was a reflection of their body language as they couldn’t hold on to any of the catches; Shadab Khan, their best fielder set the tone with a sharp chance off Rohit Sharma at short point and Imam ul-Haq accentuated it to the hilt when he gave the Indian captain another life of the bowling of 18-year-old Shaheen Afridi.
Mohammad Amir was slotted back into the side at the cost of Usman Khan hoping he would do an encore of his Champions Trophy heroics; unfortunately for Sarfaraz, Amir did what he has been doing in his past ten games. Amir went for 41 runs in five overs which forced Sarfaraz to bring Hasan Ali very early into the attack. But with the kind of form that Shikhar Dhawan was in, none of the bowlers could make an impact on the Indian batsman.
Shikhar, who en-route to a sublime 114 became the third-fastest player to score 15 ODI tons behind Amla and Virat Kohli was the pre aggressor of the two. Rohit Sharma, albeit lucky, made full of his chances and during the course of his 19th hundred became the second fastest Indian to reach 7,000 ODI runs. Shikhar finally fell after an error of judgment while running between the wickets but Rohit along with Rayudu remained unbeaten to steer India through to a crushing win.
Pakistan wouldn’t have even got to a respectable total of 7-237 if not for a calm and collect 78 from their talismanic batsman Shoaib Malik after Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq got their team to another sedate start.
While Imam fell LBW to Chahal, Zaman after hitting Kuldeep for a six overbalanced himself on the sweep and was adjudged LBW. Zaman decided not to take the review after consulting Babar Azam when it clearly showed on the replay that the ball hadn’t hit his pads. It proved to be a pivotal moment in the game as Babar Azam got run-out in the very next over to leave Pakistan reeling at 3-58.
Malik (78) and Sarfaraz (44) steadied the ship with a 107-run partnership but both fell just when Pakistan needed to get a move on. Asif Ali took Bhuvaneshwar Kumar on, taking 22 from his one over, but Jasprit Bumrah (2-29) again showed why he is one of the best death bowlers in contemporary cricket.
Bumrah gave away only 15 runs in his last four overs along with the wicket of Shoaib Malik from which Pakistan could never recover and paved way for the shenanigans of Rohit and Shikhar to take over.
India, with two wins, is through to the finals, while Pakistan will battle with Bangladesh, who have just beaten Afghanistan (by 3 runs) in a do-or-die encounter.
Pakistan (7-237, Shoaib Malik 78, Jasprit Bumrah 2-29) lose to India (1-239, Rohit Sharma 111 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 114) by nine wickets