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India beat Pakistan : ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 : Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta

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India v Pakistan : ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 : Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta

 

Once the national anthems reverberated through the packed crowd of Adelaide Oval in Australia, Virat Kohli said – “Let’s go” as the countdown continued. This clearly was an exciting encounter between the arch rivals, India and Pakistan, on this World Cup stage. According to Rameez Raja, one of the Pakistan cricketers, this was named as an “Asian Mela”.

 

After India skipper M. S. Dhoni won the toss, he elected to bat first. This was the first match for both teams in pool B of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. While the overall statistics in the history of ODI favor Pakistan overwhelmingly by 72-50, Indian fans keep bringing up India’s blemish free 5-0 record against Pakistan in World Cup games.

On this “drop in” pitch at Adelaide Oval, India started off sedately after losing Rohit Sharma to a poor stroke. Shikhar Dhawan, struggling to find form, hung in with the confident Kohli. A towering six off Mohammad Irfan provided some confidence to Dhawan in the seventh over of the match. Kohli was lucky  in his innings after he was dropped twice on his way to a measured ton. He exuded class during his innings of perseverance against a good pace attack. He negotiated the Pakistan quicks with ease as he continued to garner his runs ably supported initially by Dhawan and subsequently by Suresh Raina. In this match, Raina meant business as he continued to plunder runs towards the on side against the Pakistan bowlers. It was good to see Shikhar Dhwan get into form until he got run out unfortunately after Kohli sent him back.  It was an intelligent move by skipper Dhoni to send Raina ahead of Rahane to negate the leg spinner.

 

Kohli’s love for Adelaide Oval continued with his roaring success at this venue with a series of centuries. In the process, Virat Kohli completed a classy 22nd century (126 balls, eight fours) and shared century stands with two southpaws Shikhar Dhawan (73, 76 balls, seven fours, one six) and Suresh Raina (74, 56 balls, five fours, three sixes) to help India finish with 300 for seven. With this ton, Virat Kohli became the first Indian cricketer to score a century against Pakistan in World Cup. In the end, India scoring just 27 runs in the last five overs while losing five wickets was praiseworthy of the Pakistan bowling in the death overs with Sohail Khan scalping five wickets. Towards the end of India innings, Pakistan bowling seemed quite disciplined restricting India to 300.

 

Pakistan lost Younis Khan to a unplayable bouncer of Mohammed Shami. Ahmed Shehzad and Haris Sohail settled down into a decent second wicket partnership. This match was decided by the weakest factor that hinged around India’s bowling and Pakistan’s batting. It was an important breakthrough provided by Ashwin when he got rid off Haris Sohail caught in the slip.

 

Consolidation at the crease with the skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Shehzad was interrupted by a neat catch by Ravindra Jadeja to dismiss Shehzad that proved to be a turning point in the game. Umesh Yadav scalped two wickets in an over to bring Pakistan reeling at 102-4.  DRS aided India while Dhoni confidently wanted a review and Umar Akmal was given out by the faintest of snicks reducing Pakistan to 105-5.  With the asking rate escalating to eight per over, pressure kept mounting on Pakistan. Afridi’s heroics were just not enough and wickets kept tumbling interspersed with maiden overs by Ashwin and Jadeja. In the end, it was too much of a score for Pakistan to overcome. This was just the beginning for a long road for team India.

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