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India crush Pakistan by 124 runs to begin title defence with win

India dominated the battle of the sub-continent
India dominated the battle of the sub-continent

India 319-3 (Rohit 91) beat
Pakistan 164 (Azhar 50) by 124 runs DLS method
4th match, ICC Champions Trophy, Birmingham

A scintillating batting display followed by a dominating bowling performance saw India complete a 124 run win by DLS method against their arch-rivals Pakistan in the fourth match of ICC Champions Trophy in Birmingham.

The game was interrupted by rain on several occasions which saw a reduced match.

Openers give India solid start despite rain interventions:

Pakistan decided to field first on winning the toss. Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) started the innings with caution scoring nine runs off the first four overs. Rohit upped the ante with four boundaries in the next five overs and when the score was 46 for naught in 9.5 overs, the first of the rain break came, delaying the proceedings by 45 minutes.

On resumption, Sharma brought the 50-run stand with Dhawan with a boundary and with a six over deep-midwicket, he also brought his own fifty off 71 deliveries. Dhawan also reached his fifty in the next over after smashing three consecutive boundaries as the 100-run stand came in the 20th over. Just when Dhawan looked up to increase the scoring rate, he perished caught in the deep to Shadab Khan (1-52), ending the 136 run opening stand.

Yuvraj innings changed complexion of the game

Virat Kohli (81 not out) joined Rohit in the middle and as the duo consolidated another rain delay for 45 minutes slowed things down, reducing the game to 48 overs per side. Rohit hit a six and a four to finally get moving but was run out soon after after looking out for a quick single. Yuvraj (53) going going with a boundary and was handed a reprieve when he was put down by Hasan Ali (1-70). He made Pakistan punish for the indiscipline as he smashed three boundaries and a six in the next three overs.

In the 45th over bowled by Hasan, the southpaw smashed two more boundaries and a six to take the score to 264 for two. In the next over, Kohli plundered two fours and a six on reaching his fifty while Yuvraj completed a 29-ball half century with another boundary. Even though, Yuvraj fell, Kohli hit another four and a six to take the score to 296 for three in 47 overs. With Mohammad Amir (0-32) and Wahab Riaz (0-87) unable to complete their spell due to injuries, Imad Wasim (0-66) had to bowl the final over and Hardik Pandya (20 not out) capitalised on hit by hitting hat-trick of sixes to end the innings at 319 for three in the allotted 48 overs.

Early wickets dent Pakistan in chase despite sloppy India fielding

Pakistan were set a revised target of 324 runs in 48 overs. Openers Azhar Ali (50) and Ahmed Shehzad (12) gave a solid start of 22 runs in 4.4 overs before rain appeared for yet another time in the game. This time the target was revised to 289 runs off 41 overs. Azhar struck three boundaries on resumption as India were poor in the field but they soon bounced back when Bhvuneshwar Kumar (1-23) trapped Shehzad LBW.

Babar Azam (8) failed to carry on as he was caught at backward point to give Umesh Yadav (3-30) his first wicket and in the next over Azhar was dropped at deep midwicket by Bhuvneshwar. Both, Azhar and Mohammad Hafeez (33) struggled to get going as the required rate came close to 10 by the end of 20 overs. Azhar reached his fifty but fell soon after after he was caught in the deep off Jadeja (2-43).

Writing was on the wall for Pakistan

Shoaib Malik (15) was looking good during his nine-ball knock that included two fours and a six but was run out brilliantly by Jadeja when Hafeez sent him back. From there on Pakistan hardly recovered and were dismissed for 164 runs in 33.4 overs.
Umesh picked three wickets while Pandya (2-43) and Jadeja chipped in with two wickets. The 124-run victory took India to the top of Group B with Yuvraj bagging the player of the match award.

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