India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup Super 4: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul hundreds highlight huge victory for India

by The Technical Blogs

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India crushed Pakistan by 228 runs in Colombo on Monday after overcoming several rain delays since Sunday. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul added an unbroken 233-run stand for the third wicket after Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill added 121 for the opening wicket as India posted 356 for 2 off their 50 overs and then bundled Pakistan out for 128 in 32 overs.

Chasing a massive 357, Pakistan were never in the game. Jasprit Bumrah struck early to remove Imam-ul-Haq, Hardik Pandya pocketed the prized wicket of Babar Azam with an absolute peach, Shardul Thakur dismissed Mohammed Rizwan while Kuldeep Yadav snared Fakhar Zaman to leave the Pakistani innings in tatters.

IND vs PAK, Asia Cup Super 4s HIghlights

Kuldeep Yadav was the star of India’s bowling performance as he picked up 5 for 25 in 8 overs. He became only the 5th bowler from India after Sourav Ganguly, Arshad Ayub, Venkatesh Prasad and Sachin Tendulkar to pick up a 5-wicket haul against Pakistan in ODIs.

The 228-run margin was India’s biggest in ODIs against Pakistan.

Pakistan were listless on the field and showed no stomach for a fight in the face of a serious onslaught from Virat Kohli (122 not out off 94 balls) and KL Rahul (111 not out off 106 balls). Kohli scored his 47th ODI hundred, broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record to become the fastest to 13,000 ODI runs and smashed his 4th successive hundred at the Premadasa Stadium. Rahul scored his first hundred against Pakistan and the first in one-day internationals since March 2021 against England.

India’s pacers rattled the Pakistani top order and Kuldeep Yadav struck twice in his first four overs to put India on the path to victory. Amid the flurry of wickets, Agha Salman copped a blow right below his eye when he tried to sweep Ravindra Jadeja but he continued to bat after getting on-field treatment by the team doctor.

There was no way you could find any fault with India’s performance in this two-day one-day international team. Their openers scored half-centuries and two of their middle-order batsmen hit superb hundreds as India registered their joint-highest team total against Pakistan in ODIs.

INDIA’S TOP ORDER FIRES

India were clinical in their demolition of the Pakistani bowling attack despite long rain delays throughout the two days in Colombo. On Sunday, Rohit Sharma survived a probing opening spell from Naseem Shah before cutting lose to bring up his second successive half-century while Shubman Gill carried on from where he left off against Nepal to take apart Shaheen Shah Afridi.

It was a superb opening stand but when both Sharma and Gill were dismissed in back-to-back overs, the onus was on Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who was playing his first international match since March and his first competitive game since May 1. The pair took their time settling down before rain forced the game to move into the Reserve Day. After a frustratingly long wait, Kohli and Rahul returned to the crease with the constant threat of rain looming in the air.

Fortunately, there were no more interruptions. Unfortunately for Pakistan, there was no Haris Rauf. The ace pacer was ruled out of the remainder of the match with a niggle. Fortunately for India, KL Rahul was determined to make a mark on his international return and Virat Kohli was desperate to show why he is among the greatest batsmen to have played the game.

RECORD STAND BETWEEN KL AND VIRAT

Virat Kohli was more watchful and he was happy to play second fiddle to KL Rahul. Both men scored contrasting half-centuries; while Rahul was a lot more aggressive after a circumspect start, Kohli was more sedate but left no one in any doubt of his class. The strike rotation was excellent because the two batsmen ran well; the scoreboard got an impetus because Rahul and Kohli did not miss out on any opportunity to pierce the gaps and punish some really ordinary bowling.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul added 233 for the third wicket in an exhilarating, unbeaten partnership. India’s approach in the middle-overs has often been criticised but Rahul and Kohli accelerated with panache to leave Pakistan in shock. Afridi was smashed for 79 runs off his 10 overs, Faheem Ashraf leaked 74 runs off his 10 overs while the two spinners – Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed conceded 123 runs in 15.4 overs between them.

KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, particularly, upped the ante in the last overs as India plundered 105 runs to finish with 356 for 2 off their 50 overs. It was a lesson in ODI batting in the modern times when teams do not shy away from such mammoth run-chases.

However, Pakistan have several issues with their middle-order and all their vulnerabilities were exposed on the Reserve Day. Jasprit Bumrah, bowling in an ODI for the first time since July 2022, was unplayable. He struck first for India when he removed Imam-ul-Haq with a special delivery before Hardik Pandya dismissed Babar Azam with a ball that moved in dramatically from outside the off-stump. Rain interrupted play again before Shardul Thakur sent back Mohammed Rizwan to leave Pakistan reeling at 47 for 3 in the 12th over.

India will now return to the field for the third successive day to take on Sri Lanka in their second Super 4 match of the Asia Cup on Tuesday.

Published On:

Sep 11, 2023

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