MANCHESTER: India maintained its unbeaten World Cup record against hapless Pakistan on Sunday, who suffered from a batting collapse which has come to be one of defining weaknesses of the Greenshirts.
Rohit Sharma scored his second hundred in three innings as India won with 89 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method 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. 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. 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.