struck unbeaten centuries to steer India to a commanding 356/2 – the team’s highest total against Pakistan in ODI cricket. Pakistan were all out for 128 runs in 32 overs for their second biggest ODI defeat.
On Sunday, as the heavens opened up, India found themselves at 147/2 in 24.1 overs, bringing an abrupt halt to the much-anticipated encounter.
The match resumed on Monday (reserve day) with Kohli and Rahul coming out to bat for India. On Monday too, rain disrupted the game for a little more than an hour when Pakistan was batting.
Part-time spinner Iftikhar Ahmed leaked 52 runs in 5.4 overs and was the second-most expensive bowler for Pakistan after Shaheen Shah Afridi (1/79 in 10 overs).
Asia Cup Super 4: India crushes Pakistan, fans erupt in celebration
was the stand out bowler as he ended with a five-wicket haul.
Here’s a look at the five men who were instrumental in India’s biggest ODI victory against Pakistan:
The King is back! After a brief lull, Virat Kohli is back in roaring form and smashing centuries and records at will. Kohli hit an unbeaten 122 and alongwith KL Rahul (111*) put together an unbeaten stand of 233 runs for the third wicket.
Kohli surpassed 13,000 ODI runs just before bringing up his 47th ODI ton and extended his century score to 77 in internationals.
Kohli is the fifth batsman and the quickest to make 13,000 runs in the format. The former Indian captain is also the fastest to 8000, 9000, 10000, 11000 and 12000 ODI runs.
Kohli smashed 3 sixes and 9 fours in his knock and finished the innings with a six down the ground against a bowling attack that lacked sting.
“Virat Kohli, KL Rahul did wonders…”: BCCI Vice-President Rajeev Shukla as India beats Pakistan
“KL and myself are both conventional players. And when you have him batting the way he was and me playing, it’s tough to break these partnerships because we don’t play fancy shots,” man of the match Kohli said on the marathon stand.
Kohli added, “It is one of the memorable partnerships we’ve had and for Indian cricket as well. He (Rahul) hit form for us straightaway, good for us.”
Kohli’s fourth man of the match award is the most by an Indian in ODI Asia Cup.
In cricket it often said that form is temporary and class is permanent. That stands true for KL Rahul, who was included in the India playing XI at the last moment due to a back spasm to Sheyas Iyer.
Returning from an injury lay-off, Rahul made his comeback count to the hilt.
Rahul smashed 12 fours and two sixes in his 106-ball knock.
Kohli and Rahul saw off the threat of Pakistan’s pace attack, missing Harris Rauf due to a right flank problem, and the duo targeted the spinners on an improving wicket to post 356-2 in 50 overs.
Rahul and Kohli’s unbeaten 233-run partnership for the third wicket was the highest stand in the Asia Cup.
Rahul, returning to the side after surgery for a quadriceps injury in May, flexed his muscles against spinners Iftikhar Ahmed and
and stepped down the wicket to flick the latter for a massive six after getting his half-century.
India raised the tempo amid the threat of more showers and cruised to the 300-run mark in 45 overs before Rahul reached his sixth hundred and raised his bat like a sword.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav ripped through Pakistan’s line-up registering his second five-wicket haul in the process.
Kuldeep’s 5/25 are the third best bowling figures by Indian spinner against Pakistan in ODI cricket after Arshad Ayub’s 5/21 at Dhaka in 1988 and Sachin Tendulkar‘s 5/50 at Kochi in 2005.
“Very happy at the moment. It is the consistency from the last one and half years, I have got my rhythm back and am enjoying my bowling. It is good to get five wickets, I am just thinking about bowling on a good length. It is amazing to get 5 wickets in ODIs or Tests. I have my plans when playing against the top sides. I have played against them (Pakistan) in 2019 and know their strengths, but I bowled to my strengths. I am focusing on bowling wicket to wicket, good sides try to sweep or slog sweep or sweep and give me a chance to get wickets,” Kuldeep Yadav said after the match.
Leading from the front, the Indian captain took the bull by its horns. With Pakistan banking on their terrific pace trio to get early breakthroughs, Rohit Sharma made sure that didn’t happen got off to a prompt start, scoring 10 off 10 deliveries, with a delightful flicked six off Shaheen Shah Afridi – becoming the first batsman in world cricket to hit a six off the left-arm seamer in the first over.
Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan dished out three half-trackers, a full toss, and a wide half-volley outside the off-stump to the Indian captain. Three went into the stands at midwicket. Two went to the point boundary.
Rohit hit 4 sixes and 6 fours in his 49-ball 56 before falling to Shadab.
“We just wanted to get out on the park, to get some game time. Lot of guys haven’t had that. That could only happen thanks to a great effort from the groundsmen. I know how tough it is to cover and remove covers from the whole ground. On behalf of the entire team, we would like to thank them. (On batting) Fantastic performance, right from yesterday. When we started, we knew the wicket was good and we had to adjust with the rain, the two experienced (Kohli and Rahul) guys we knew they’d take time to get their eye in and then we can get going. (On Bumrah) Looked good, he swung it both ways and he’s worked really hard for the last 8-10 months. Bumrah is only 27, for him to miss games isn’t ideal but the way he bowled showed what he is all about. Looking at how we batted, there were lots of positives with the openers and then Virat and KL. Virat’s innings was brilliantly paced. And then KL, to get back from injury and then to know 5 minutes before the toss he’s playing, to play that way shows the mindset of the player,” the Indian captain said after the match.
India opener Shubman Gill partnered with skipper Rohit Sharma to get India off to a good start on Sunday with a 121-run stand.
Gill not only hit crisp shots, he middled everything and carved India’s nemesis Shaheen Shah Afridi for six boundaries, causing Pakistan skipper
to take his lead pacer out of the attack after an expensive spell of 3-0-31-0.
Gill drove Afridi on the up, charged down the ground to hit him over his head and played the slap cut, a shot he currently owns. Intent was the buzzword for Gill. He had decided he wasn’t going to allow Shaheen to settle down.
Gill was a picture of confidence against the Pakistani pacers and brought up his half-century in only 37 balls with 10 fours before falling for 58.