India defeated their fiercest rivals Pakistan in their group B opener in the ICC Champions Trophy by 124 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a game which showed the difference in class between the sides.
Yuvraj Singh's innings inspired Captain Virat Kohli to start a rampage of his own and scored 81 off 68 balls. Pakistan's batsman Azhar Ali (50) and Mohammad Hafeez (33) battled slightly. In the tenth over when India was batting, the match was interrupted due to rain once again in the 34th over also and the match was reduced to 48 overs.
The Indian batsmen were particularly brutal on Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz, who went for 87 runs in 8.4 overs before limping off injured, the most expensive spell of five overs or more in Champions Trophy history. Umesh Yadav (3), Ravindra Jadeja (2) and Parthiv Pandya (2) wickets were grounded.
The next match of the championship will be played between Australia and Bangladesh at The Oval on Monday. Because that's what I think our players can do. But how can there be any criticism when Yuvraj, 35 or not, bats like this and wins matches for India?
Pakistan paceman Wahab Riaz will miss the rest of the ICC Champions Trophy after suffering ligament damage to his right ankle against India. "He took all the pressure off me and played the way only he can".
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But obviously we lost a lot of wickets upfront and once you lose five wickets for 30-odd it's very hard to recover. It's not me, something we have been talking about. "We are hungry and want to do well against Mumbai .
Sharma and Shikar Dhawan, played cautiously early on and added 46 in the first ten overs. "There is simply no excuse for a 164-run score on a flat wicket where the opposition managed 319 with consummate ease".
The pressure started building on the bowlers and fielders and, as a result, they dropped Yuvraj and Kohli in the process, which cost them hugely in the death overs. The 93 runs partnership between Virat and Yuvraj was definitely the game changer, along with Pakistan's lacklustre batting. "The way he was hitting the ball, I felt like a club batter in front of him", Indian skipper Viart Kohli said at the post-match press conference. That's the level at which they played today.
Apart from the top order, all-rounder Hardik Pandya's cameo (20 runs in six balls) was also useful. A dropped catch of Virat Kohli cost Pakistan dearly as he started hitting the ball over the fence. But eyeing what would have been his 11th ODI hundred, Sharma was run out when he just failed to beat Babar Azam's throw to Sarfraz after Kohli's call for one.
Sarfaraz commented on where they lost the match saying: "Everything was under control after 40 overs, but we lost the plot in the last eight".
The 23-year-old was chosen to go in ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a One-Day International legend, and Kedar Jadhav, who has built a growing reputation as an inventive and big-hitting limited-overs batsman.