Rohit’s deep batting skills drown Babar’s dreams of breaking WC jinx

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 Pakistan’s jinx remained unbroken as Captain Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer’s deep batting skills drowned Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s dreams to give his team the first-ever win at the World Cup ODIs, and it came about in the easiests of ways for India at Narendra Modi Stadium here on Saturday.

The 192 runs target was never going to bother India’s strong batting lineup, and Rohit made it happen with a splendid 86 runs, and Shreyas with his unbeaten 53 at the end.

Rohit was on song, taking the Pakistani pacers to the cleaners with his graceful batting display and masterful stroke-making.

The trademark pull off Haris Rauf towering over deep backward square leg was the highlight of Rohit’s knock. His raucous innings ensured Shreyas dropped anchor and guided India to a resounding victory with 7 wickets in hand and 19.3 overs to spare.

Pakistan did not set the target as expected, and were left bemused of surrendering to Indian bowlers superexcellent efforts. They were reduced to 191 all out from 155/2, and that is where the neighbouring giant lost.

Shubman Gill smashed a boundary of the first ball in his comeback match, but did not stay for long. He cut Shaheen Afridi’s ball hard, but it landed into the hands of the point fielder.

Despite losing Gill, India were off to a great start with Virat Kohli smacking two consecutive boundaries off Shaheen, but more than anyone else, it was Rohit who fired over the ropes.

While Rohit went all guns blazing, Kohli fell while trying to repeat the heroics at the other end. He attempted an uncharacteristic cross-batted shot and mistimed it to mid-on. Nevertheless, India were still on the top with 79/2 in just 10 overs.

Rohit got to his fifty off just 36 balls. After that, Rohit and Shreyas started to deal in sixes, hinting at wrapping the match pretty soon and sending a strong message.

Change of pace foxed Rohit as he went into the shot mode early and miscued it, but did an awesome job for India. He hammered 86 off just 63 balls to put India completely on top.

Shreyas smacked a boundary to bring up fifty and finished the job for India as they extended the streak in the World Cup to 8-0.

Earlier, the Indian bowlers shocked Pakistan, skittling them for a paltry 191.

Considering the start Pakistan got off to, it was quite extraordinary how they folded their innings for a total less than 200. The Pakistani batsmen got off to a rollicking start as India’s bowlers were off-the-mark, especially they carted away Mohammed Siraj for few boundaries and were looking ominous.

Imam-ul-Haq smashed Siraj for three boundaries in his very first over, but he gave India the first breakthrough by trapping Abdullah Shafique (20) in front in the 8th over.

Hardik Pandya forced Imam to snick one behind the stumps to KL Rahul for 36 off 38 balls with 6 boundaries. Pakistan were 73/2 and their most trustworthy pair was out in the middle.

Captain Babar and Mohammad Rizwan held fort and started accumulating runs. They dropped anchor, but did not lose an opportunity to put away loose balls to boundaries. It looked Pakistan were in for a big total with the duo at the crease.

But there was a big moment when Rizwan was given out lbw against Ravindra Jadeja, and looked out in real time, but the batsman reviewed the decision and the TV umpire watched the ball missing the stumps.

Though Babar was short of runs in the tournament, the Pakistan captain looked in great touch smashing some boundaries. Rizwan was cautious against Jadeja whose balls were kept low at times.

Finally, Babar got a fifty against India in his seventh attempt, and would be extremely satisfied with this effort.

Babar and Rizwan kept the runs ticking for Pakistan. Their partnership raced 50, but that’s when India hit back hard. Siraj castled Babar with an absolute beauty which triggered Pakistan’s massive collapse. The batsman tried to guide it to third man, but failed to make a connection as the ball hit the top of off stump.

The game turned on its head with Kuldeep Yadav picking two wickets in a single over. Saud Shakeel was first trapped lbw on a DRS. And in the same over, Iftikhar Ahmed was a tad unlucky as the ball caressed his glove before disturbing the timbers. He was stunned, but the Indian ran across in celebration.

Rizwan was the key for Pakistan after half of the side were back into the hut in a jiffy, but Pakistan lost him as well.

Jasprit Bumrah returned to the attack, bowled an off cutter and Rizwan missed the ball as it clattered the stumps. He departed for 49. Suddenly, Pakistan were 168/6 from 155/2.

Mohammad Nawaz (4) was the next to march back. Hardik returned to the crease and Nawaz in his attempt to clear the man at mid-on failed to do so and the catch was taken easily by Bumrah. Pakistan were 187/8.

Hasan Ali wanted to send one out of the stadium but he could only mistime this shot and the skier was taken by Shubman Gill, reducing Pakistan to 187/9.

For India, Bumrah, Siraj, Hardik, Kuldeep and Jadeja bagged two wickets each. Sharduk Thakur was the only bowler who was wicketless in two overs.

Brief scores: Pakistan 191 in 42.5 overs (Babar Azam 50, Mohammad Rizwan 49; Jasprit Bumrah 2/19) lost to India 192/3 in 30.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 86, Shreyas Iyer 53*) by 7 wickets

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