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Wednesday, February 28, 2024  
17 Shaban 1445  

India thump Pakistan in blockbuster World Cup clash

India beat Pakistan by seven wickets
India’s Rohit Sharma and Pakistan’s Babar Azam after the match at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India on October 14, 2023. Reuters
India’s Rohit Sharma and Pakistan’s Babar Azam after the match at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India on October 14, 2023. Reuters
India’s KL Rahul (C) plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. AFP
India’s KL Rahul (C) plays a shot during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. AFP
India’s Kuldeep Yadav (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Iftikhar Ahmed during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. AFP
India’s Kuldeep Yadav (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Iftikhar Ahmed during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. AFP
Reuters
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 - India v Pakistan - Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India - October 14, 2023 India’s Mohammed Siraj celebrates after taking the lbw wicket of Pakistan’s Abdullah Shafique REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Reuters Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 - India v Pakistan - Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India - October 14, 2023 India’s Mohammed Siraj celebrates after taking the lbw wicket of Pakistan’s Abdullah Shafique REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 - India v Pakistan - Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India - October 14, 2023 Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam in action running between the wickets REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 - India v Pakistan - Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India - October 14, 2023 Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam in action running between the wickets REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the high-voltage contest of the Men’s 50-over World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Saturday, as the jinx continues in the mega event.

The hosts outclassed their archrivals in the contest which was held at the stadium where it was like a “sea of blue”. The crowd chanted Bumrah when he came to bowl in the power play.

Pakistan were all out for 191, reminding the fans of its mercurial temperament as it was the same side that chased 345 against Sri Lanka in the last game.

Pakistan was off to a bright start, however, they lost their two top-order batters in the 13 overs. The third-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan gave signs that the Green Shirts were up for a big total in the much-anticipated match of the tournament.

But it was not as after the dismissal of Pakistani skipper Babar, no batter managed to stay on the crease for long. They could only add 36 runs to the scoreboard together.

Though Pakistan managed to get two key Indian wickets, it was not enough to stop Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, also known as ‘hitman’ for his hard-hitting, to finish the game early.

It was Shaheen Shah Afridi who gave the breakthrough to Pakistan in the match.

Pakistan now have two wins and one defeat in the 10-nation tournament.

“It felt good,” said man of the match, Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah who had figures of 2-19 off nine overs.

Rohit hit the ball to all parts of the ground with his delightful flicks and pulls to entertain an almost all-Indian crowd at the world’s biggest cricket stadium after Pakistanis were effectively banned from attending.

‘Not a good performance’

Azam said that they did start well with the openers going well and were trying to build a partnership after losing them. But he added that the sudden fall of wickets was not a good thing.

“It was not a good performance with the bat and we should have got to at least 280,” he said and admitted that they were not up to the mark with the new ball and gave credit to his Indian counterpart for the way he played.

‘Bowlers set the game up for us’

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said that bowlers set the game up for them and restricted Pakistan to 191 runs. He described it as a “great effort”.

“We are blessed to have six individuals who can get the job done with the ball,” he said and added that as a captain his job was to assess the wicket and figure out the bowler to do the job.

He added that they wanted to stay balanced and didn’t want to play well on that particular day.

‘One of those days’

“You try to analyse the wicket as soon as possible so when we started bowling, we came to know that the wicket was on the slower side and a hard length would make run-scoring more difficult,” added Bumrah.

“There was no consistent turn but it was turning a little bit and I count my slower ball as a spinner so I thought it might be an option. I was trying to do that and it gripped - it was one of those days.”

Pakistan batting

Skipper Babar Azam, with his maiden fifty in the tournament, was the top scorer for his side. Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, Imamul Haq, and Abdullah Shafique were the only four batters to score runs in double digits.

The Pakistani batting line-up started to crumble after Azam got out on Mohammad Siraj’s delivery. The crowd, which was mostly Indian, had got their voice back when the Pakistani skipper was bowled.

The middle and bottom order could only add up to 36 runs after the dismissal of Azam and Rizwan.

On behalf of Pakistan, Imamul Haq and Abdullah Shafiq opened the innings and established a partnership of 41 runs, after which Abdullah Shafiq scored 20 runs in the eighth over and got out lbw in the over of Mohammad Siraj.

Jasprit Bumrah was the best bowler for the Indian side as he picked up two wickets in seven overs from 19 runs. He also bowled a maiden over. Mohammad Siraj, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, and Ravindra Jadeja also grabbed two wickets each.

India skipper Rohit Sharma on Saturday won the toss and elected to bowl first against Pakistan in a blockbuster World Cup match expected to be attended by 120,000 fans.

Opening batsman Shubman Gill returns to the team and takes the place of Ishan Kishan after recovering from dengue fever and missing the first two matches.

Toss

“Cannot get bigger than this, fantastic atmosphere,” Rohit said at the toss as the home crowd roared.

“Sure lot of us are going to experience something really extraordinary.”

Favourites India come into the match unbeaten with victories over five-time winners Australia and Afghanistan.

Pakistan, who also won their two matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, come in unchanged from their previous win.

Against Sri Lanka, they chased down a World Cup record of 345 in Hyderabad.

Skipper Babar Azam said he would have also fielded first had he won the toss.

“We also wanted to bowl first,” he said. “We have had good two wins, momentum and confidence is high. Jam-packed stadium, we will enjoy it.”

The world’s biggest cricket stadium was a sea of blue due to a largely Indian presence after Pakistan fans from across the boder were unable to secure visas.

Teams

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan will hunt for their first-ever World Cup win over India in the blockbuster match between cricket’s biggest rivals in the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.**

India and Pakistan are bitter adversaries and only play against each other in international tournaments due to longstanding political tensions.

Any meeting between them always raises fan interest with millions watching around the globe in a bonanza for broadcasters and sponsors.

Fans desperate to watch the match have even booked beds in city hospital wards after hotels ran out of rooms.

By signing up for health check-ups and overnight stays in private hospitals, the accommodation has proved a cheaper option with some hotels hiking rates by as much as 10 times.

Both teams remain unbeaten coming into the match at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, named after the Indian prime minister.

As per international media reports, the 132,000-capacity stadium would host around 115,000 to 120,000 fans with some seats lost due to ramps and stage set up for a pre-game concert.

The number could be a record for any cricket match around the globe and surpass the previous figure of 104,859, which turned out to watch last year’s Indian Premier League final at the same venue.

Pakistan nationals are still awaiting their India visa and only a handful of Pakistani fans, who have British and US passports, have turned up to watch the game.

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