Sports

World Cup 2019: Pakistan batting scrambles as India bag easy win

MANCHESTER: Rohit Sharma scored his second hundred in three innings as India maintained their unbeaten record against Pakistan at the World Cup with an 89-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method on Sunday.

 

Sharma´s 140 was the centrepiece of a total of 336-5 that also featured captain Virat Kohli´s 77.

 

Victory in this rain-curtailed clash saw India, who have now won all seven of their World Cup matches against Pakistan, remain unbeaten after four pool games at this year´s edition.

 

Pakistan, whose only 2019 pool win so far was a shock defeat of hosts England, were never truly up with the rate in the showpiece match of the 10-team round-robin stage.

 

They still had hope at 117 for one even though the most made by any side batting second to win a World Cup match is Ireland´s 329 for seven against England at Bangalore in 2011.

 

But Kuldeep Yadav then struck twice to spark a collapse that saw Pakistan lose four wickets for 12 runs in 18 balls as they slumped to 129 for five in 27 overs — long past the 20-over cut-off point needed for a result under D/L.

 

A third rain stoppage came with Pakistan 166-6 off 35 overs.

 

The match then descended into something of a farce when play resumed under leaden skies, with Pakistan requiring an outlandish 136 more runs in five overs to reach a revised victory total of 302 in 40 overs.

 

That target which, eventually became 94 off the last six balls, unsurprisingly proved beyond them as Pakistan finished on 212-6, dealing a major blow to their semi-final hopes as India took the bragging rights yet again.

 

Worryingly for India, paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar limped off in the fifth over of Pakistan´s chase with a hamstring injury that sidelined him from the rest of the match.

 

But Vijay Shankar, completing the over, struck first ball when he had opener Imam-ul-Haq lbw for seven.

 

Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) repaired the damage with a century stand, before they both fell to left-arm wrist-spinner Yadav as they tried to up the tempo.

 

HUGE ROARS:

Babar was bowled between bat by a superb delivery before Zaman miscued a sweep to short fine leg.

 

All-rounder Hardik Pandya then took two wickets in two balls.

 

Mohammad Hafeez was caught at deep square leg before Shoaib Malik played on for his second successive duck — a wicket greeted with huge roars by the massed ranks of India fans in a capacity crowd, with an estimated one billion watching on television.

 

Earlier, Kohli became the quickest player to 11,000 one-day international runs, getting there in 222nd innings compared to compatriot Sachin Tendulkar´s previous record of 276 innings.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan left-arm quick Mohammad Amir continued his fine form with 3-47 despite two early warnings for running on the pitch.

 

But not even Amir could stop Sharma and KL Rahul (57) marking their first ODI match as a opening duo with a stand of 136 after Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss.

 

Sharma, who made 122 in India´s opening win over South Africa and 57 against Australia, went to fifty with a six over long-on and a cut four off successive deliveries from recalled leg-spinner Shadab Khan.

 

He then entered the 90s with an extraordinary square-cut six off paceman Hasan Ali.

 

His single off Shadab saw Sharma to an 85-ball hundred including three sixes and nine fours. It was Sharma´s 24th ODI century.

 

But a quickfire stand of 98 with Kohli ended when Sharma, trying a needlessly extravagant scoop, flicked Hasan to short fine leg.

 

Kohli, 71 not out at the start of a 55-minute rain break, fell soon after the resumption when, trying to hook Amir, he ´walked´ for a catch behind by wicket-keeper Sarfaraz despite replays appearing to show he didn´t hit the ball.

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