India Hammer Pakistan for 6th World Cup Win on-the-Trot
India consigned Pakistan to a humiliating 76-run defeat in their first match of Cricket World Cup 2015 in Adelaide on Sunday. This was India’s sixth straight World Cup win over their arch-rivals. Defending champions India rode Virat Kohli’s brilliant 107 to score 300/7 after skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat. Mohammed Shami took 4 for 35 to send Pakistan crashing.
Sunday’s result was India’s first big victory in almost three months the team has been in Australia. India had lost the Test series versus Australia 2-0 and didn’t qualify for the trination final. Australia defeated England to win the championship.
Pakistan started well but lost their way due to poor shot selection. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s 76 went in vain as Pakistan lost wickets in bunches and never recovered. Indian bowling was backed by smart fielding as Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina took some match-winning catches.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad (47) and Haris Sohail (36) blew good starts and veteran batsmen Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi failed to come to the party. Afridi, typically, was out to a booming loose stroke.
Earlier, Kohli scored an imperious century to steer India to an imposing 300 for seven as they opened their World Cup defence in a frenzied atmosphere at the Adelaide Oval.
The much-anticipated Pool B grudge match attracted a noisy full house to the recently revamped ground with up to a billion tuning in on the sub-continent and around the world.
It was the two thirds of the crowd dressed in the blue of India, though, who had the most to cheer about after India won the toss and chose to bat, Kohli brushing off his recent poor one-day form with a knock of 107.
Dropped from a difficult chance by Yasir Shah off Shahid Afridi on seven and again by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal on 76, Kohli otherwise played within himself and gave few chances in his 126-ball innings.
Pakistan, who have never beaten their neighbours in five previous World Cup meetings, had made an early breakthrough when Rohit Sharma misjudged the bounce of a Sohail Khan delivery and spooned the ball to Misbah for 15.
That brought Kohli in to join Shikhar Dhawan and the pair set about ruthlessly snatching the momentum away from the Pakistanis with a dominant partnership of 129.
Their previously slick running between the wickets deserted them in the 30th over, however, and Dhawan was sent back by Kohli only to be run out for 73 by a direct hit.
Suresh Raina came in to join Kohli but there was no letup in the pace of Indian scoring with the left-hander bludgeoning three sixes in his 40-ball half century.
Kohli reached his hundred with a single to long on, whipping off his helmet to celebrate his 22nd century in one-dayers and the first by an Indian in a World Cup match against Pakistan.
Two balls later and Raina was celebrating his fifty but soon after raising his bat he was continuing the onslaught on the bowling to help drive the third-wicket partnership to 110.
They were separated when Kohli was caught behind after slashing at a Sohail delivery and Raina joined his team mate back in the dressing room soon afterwards for 74 when he holed out to the same bowler in the deep.
Sohail, who took 5-55 in his first one-dayer since 2011, helped wrest back some momentum for Pakistan, securing his five-wicket haul as Dhoni (18), Ravindra Jadeja (3) and Ajinkya Rahane (0) were sent back in the last two overs.
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has advised captain Misbah-ul-Haq to become more stern and be strong with the players if the team harbours hopes of doing well in the cricket World Cup.
“I am totally disappointed at the way some of our batsmen played rash strokes and got out against India. I think Misbah has to shed some of his humbleness and calmness and deal with such players strongly,” Akhtar said on Geo News Channel after Pakistan lost their sixth straight match to India in World Cup history.
“Look at Ahmed Shehzad. He has now been around for three to four years and what was he trying to do. I would dare him to show this same irresponsible attitude if Imran Khan was captain – he would have been shown the door in no time,” Akhtar said.
He said while it was true that the World Cup was still wide open and the team needed to be backed, it disappointed him to see the attitude of some players.
“We saw Sohaib Maqsood laughing in the dressing room after he got out for a duck to a rank bad shot when his team required him to stay at the wicket. What attitude is this?”
Akhtar said it was time Misbah stopped being a nice person.
“They need to be told what they are required to do to remain in this team. This is Pakistan team not a club side.
“They let down millions of people with their poor performances,” he said.
Akhtar also felt it was time for Misbah to decide the future of senior batsman Younus Khan in the team.
“Honestly speaking Younus should have left ODIs two years back but he is still playing… why because the board and selectors came under pressure after a media campaign,” Akhtar noted.
He said the tour selection committee would have to seriously decide whether Younis warranted a place in the side in the remaining matches of the tournament.
Former captain Rameez Raja also told Geo News that the defeat would have led to mental scarring of the Pakistani team.
“I just hope they can rebound from this defeat because they now need to win all their matches and show more discipline and purpose in their cricket,” he said.
He said Misbah as usual had played his role with the bat but the others needed to realise they must rally around their captain.
“It was also a bad idea to not play a regular wicketkeeper and that must change in the next matches,” Rameez said.