World Cup 2019, India vs Pakistan: Analyzing India's performance
Despite rain-threats, the much awaited match between India and Pakistan at the World Cup 2019 did take place. India continued their dominance in the tournament and over their arch-rivals in the Wold Cup as they defeated Pakistan by 89 runs (via DLS method).
India outplayed their neighbours, who produced a sub-par showing, in every department of the match. With this win, India move up to the 3rd place in the points table and take another step towards a semi final berth.
Let's have a look at how India performed to make it 7-0 against Pakistan in World Cup encounters.
New opening pair put up a century stand courtesy some lucky escapes
KL Rahul was moved up the order to replace Shikhar Dhawan and open the innings with Rohit Sharma. The strategy of the Indians was to play out the initial overs without losing any wicket as the Pakistani bowlers were getting some assistance from the pitch.
The new opening pair started cautiously and were lucky to escape some inside edge drags which missed the stumps, and a few run out chances as well. But once settled, the duo took on the opponent's bowling to provide the team a century partnership (136 runs off 143 balls) from where the other batsmen could notch up a competitive total.
Rahul departed after scoring a decent 57 off 78 balls while Rohit (140 runs off 113 balls) looked in sublime touch and continued his purple patch in the tournament to score his second hundred in the mega event.
Virat Kohli's surprising departure
The Indian skipper continued from where he left against Australia and put together a solid stand with Rohit. After the latter's departure, Kohli shouldered the responsibility to anchor the Indian innings and started to accelerate along with Hardik Pandya.
Kohli registered his 51st ODI fifty and became the fastest batsmen to score 11000 ODI runs during his stay at the crease. However, when he was on 77 (65 balls), he decided to walk off as he felt that the ball had brushed his bat while trying to pull a bouncer off Mohammed Amir despite being given not out by the umpire.
It was quite surprising to see him walking off as the ultra edge also confirmed that there was no contact of the ball with the bat. Had he been at the crease, India could have put some more runs on the board and maybe even crossed the 350 mark.
Middle order slows down
Hardik Pandya came out to bat at No. 4 and played a cameo of 26 runs off 19 balls but fell to Mohammed Amir while trying to accelerate. Overall, the Indian middle order looked below par as they failed to capitalise on the foundation laid by the top order.
MS Dhoni (1 run off 2 balls) departed soon, poking at an outgoing delivery. Kedar Jadhav (9 runs off 8 balls) and Vijay Shankar (15 runs off 15 balls) also failed to hit big in the death overs, scoring at a run a ball rate.
The consistency of the Indian middle order has always remained a matter of concern and it needs to be fixed soon before it starts costing India matches.
Bowlers hit the right length
The Indian bowling unit put up a clinical performance in the match. Just when Pakistan looked settled and tried to accelerate, the bowlers ran though the batting lineup to reduce them from 117-1 to 129-5 in a span of just 18 balls. They were successful in putting the pressure back on Pakistan at a time when every run and every wicket mattered in determining the DLS par score.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's injury while bowling made him unavailable for the rest of the match but Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar didn't let their captain down. Shankar provided the early breakthrough off his very first delivery and ended up with figures which read 5.2-0-22-2. Pandya also scalped two crucial wickets to put Pakistan on the backfoot, and ended with figures which read 8-0-44-2.
Kuldeep Yadav (2/32) returned to form as he took the wickets of Fakhar Zaman (62 runs off 75 balls) and Babar Azam (48 runs of 57 balls) in quick succession. It would be a huge relief for India to see him returning to form and deceiving the batsmen with his variations.
Yuzvendra Chahal (0/53) and star bowler Jasprit Bumrah (0/52) remained wicketless, but that should not be worrying India much. They were both outstanding in the previous matches and will look to dominate the opposition batsmen in the coming games.
Also read - World cup all time records