Ahmedabad: India skipper Rohit Sharma smashed six fours and as many sixes en route to top-scoring with a scintillating 86 off 63 balls in powering the hosts’ to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in a highly-anticipated clash of 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup here at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
In the afternoon, Jasprit Bumrah’s intelligent variations and Kuldeep Yadav’s accurate wrist-spin, along with other bowlers amongst the wickets, meant India bowled out Pakistan for just 191 in 42.5 overs. From being 155-2 at one point, Pakistan lost eight wickets for just 36 runs in 13 overs.
In the chase of 192, apart from Rohit’s efforts, Shreyas Iyer got crucial game time to make 53 not out off 62 balls, to give India its eighth straight victory over Pakistan in Men’s ODI World Cups in an utterly one-sided match, also its third consecutive win of the ongoing competition.
Chasing 200, Shubman Gill didn’t look like he was back after missing first two games due to illness – striking three absolutely gorgeous boundaries through the off-side, before tickling one through fine to hit his fourth four in nine balls.
His promising knock ended in the third over when he flashed hard at a short and wide delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi and picked out backward point. Rohit struggled to get his timing initially, but found his groove when he carved Hasan Ali over point and flicked sweetly through mid-wicket for two fours.
There was more delight in store for Indian fans as Virat Kohli creamed his cover drive to absolute pristine timing against Shaheen and would later bring out an extra-cover drive against left-arm pacer for two unforgettable boundaries.
Rohit, meanwhile, entertained the crowd with mesmerising maximums – Shaheen was hooked over fine leg, Mohammad Nawaz was flicked over mid-wicket and Haris Rauf was muscled over long-on, also his 300th ODI six. He hit his 301st six by crunching Rauf over cover for six, before Pakistan hit back as Hasan got Kohli to mis-time to mid-on, leaving the crowd silent.
After getting his fifty in 36 balls, Rohit continued to thunder boundaries effortlessly and got good support from Iyer, who also joined him in raining fours and sixes against Pakistan’s bowlers, especially against the spinners.
Though Rohit fell short of his second successive century by 14 runs after mis-timing a slower ball to mid-on off Shaheen, Iyer and KL Rahul knocked off the remaining 36 runs with ease, with the former reaching his fifty through a winning six down the ground, to secure an emphatic win for India.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 191 in 42.5 overs (Babar Azam 50, Mohammad Rizwan 49; Jasprit Bumrah 2-19, Hardik Pandya 2-34) lost to India 192-3 in 30.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 86, Shreyas Iyer 53 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-36, Hasan Ali 1-34) by seven wickets