CT 2017, India v/s Pakistan, 4th Game, Review: India romp home against lax Pakistan in a stop-start game

CT 2017, India v/s Pakistan, 4th Game, Review: India romp home against lax Pakistan in a stop-start game

Red-hot favourites for this game, India were clinical in their approach to register a 124-run win against Pakistan who turned up without a batting plan.

India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the wicket of Pakistan batsman
India’s Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the wicket of Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

When Mohammad Amir beat the bat of Rohit Sharma three times in the first four balls of the game, India knew that they had to bat sedately to counter the skilful new ball bowler. Rohit, after struggling initially, found his rhythm and went on to register a classy knock of 91 in his comeback game for India after missing out for 8 months due to an injury.

The initial burst from Amir was the only time the match was evenly contested. Post that, it was all one-way traffic. Dhawan and Rohit pillaged the singles early on to get the scoreboard moving. Both batsmen got their eye in and started playing their shots later on. It was a typical display of conventional cricket which was the need of the hour. Rain intervened their charge but did not deter the batsmen as they took their time to get settled post every interruption.

Openers hit half-centuries

While Rohit took his time, reaching his half-century off 70 balls, Dhawan played the aggressor. The stylish left-hander was lethal against the pace of Wahab Riaz. He hit three successive boundaries off the fast bowler in the 19th over, all using the raw pace of the left-arm bowler. A hat-trick of boundaries followed a well-placed shot for two which brought up the half-century of the Delhi dasher off 48 balls. Pakistan had a lot of hopes from their rookie leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who is a very skilful bowler, but India smartly attacked him to unsettle the 18-year old playing just his 4th ODI. Dhawan ultimately fell to the leg-spinner when he hit a full toss straight into the hands of the deep midwicket fielder for a fine 65-ball 68.

Rohit and Kohli took the fight forward and were involved in a 56-run stand for the 2nd wicket which took its time due to some tight bowling coupled with a rain intervention. The opener cut loose after struggling for a good 20 minutes to hit a four and a six off consecutive balls in the 36th over. Rohit was on his way to yet another big hundred but he was unfortunately run out in the next over as his bat, which was across the crease when the bails were removed, was in the air after it thudded the ground when he dived.

Yuvraj provides late impetus

At 194 for 2 in 37 overs and the game reduced to a 48-over each side contest, there was work to be done for India as the Pakistani bowlers were bowling tight lines. Yuvraj Singh walked out to join his skipper, who was batting on a sedate 38-ball 30. Pakistan fielding, which was appalling during the course of the game, yet again floundered when Yuvraj was dropped off Shadab at long off by Hasan Ali which left their skipper infuriated. Shadab foxed the experienced Yuvraj by bowling a googly as the left-hander wanted to make a statement by going down the wicket and hitting the teenager for a six in his final over except that he could only slash it at a catchable height which was grassed by Hasan. Yuvraj made them pay as he provided the much-needed impetus to the India innings by hitting 8 fours and a six in his innings of 53 which came off just 32 balls. The southpaw’s innings had a contagious effect on his skipper, who also pressed on the accelerator to remain unbeaten on a 68-ball 81. Hardik Pandya strangely sent ahead of Dhoni, proved his worth by playing a brazen knock of 20 not out after facing just 6 balls. In hindsight, Sarfaraz made an error of giving Imad Wasim the final over of the innings and Pandya brutally struck him for 3 cleanly stroked sixes in the over to finish India’s innings at an above par 319 for 3 after 48 overs.

Pakistan chase sluggishly and showed no intent

The Pakistan innings wasn’t off to a bustling start but they made sure they don’t lose a wicket upfront. They were 21 for no loss in the 5th over when the rain came down to stop the match yet again. The target was revised to a stiff 289 in 41 overs. Pakistan knew they had to be swift in their approach and show intent. But their approach for the rest of the innings was hare-brained. They never showed any intent, barring Shoaib Malik who quickly got off the blocks to reach 15 in 9 balls before he was run out brilliantly by Ravindra Jadeja from the point region. Azhar Ali, Ahmad Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez took a lot of balls between them and got out when their team needed them to kick on. Indian bowlers were very disciplined and bowled according to their fields to have a vice-like grip on the Pakistani batting.

Their only hope, Babar Azam, departed quickly when he failed to keep a cut off Umesh Yadav down and found the safe hands of Jadeja. Umesh Yadav (3/30), Hardik Pandya (2/43) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/43) bowled telling spells in the middle overs to pick 7 wickets between themselves. From afar it seemed like Pakistan had already jettisoned the chase.

Pakistan never turned up for this hugely anticipated game. They fielded poorly, bowled okay and batted without a plan in a stiff chase. Sarfaraz did not ring in the right changes at the right time as it appeared he didn’t want to go against the plan already been set. But cricket is a game where conventional planning takes a back seat when the conditions change during the course of a game, especially after a rain intervention.

Brief Scores:

India – 319 for 3 in 48 overs (Rohit Sharma 91, Virat Kohli 81, Shadab Khan 1/52)

Pakistan – 164 all out in 33.4 overs (Azhar Ali 50, Mohammad Hafeez 33, Umesh Yadav 3/30, Hardik Pandya 2/43)