India trounces Pakistan in ICC Champions Trophy; wins by 124 runs

Ross Houston
June 5, 2017

India captain Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh made Pakistan pay for fluffing catches with quickfire fifties as the holders launched their Champions Trophy title-defence with a rain-affected 124 run thrashing of their arch-rivals at Edgbaston yesterday.

The fielding gaffes began nearly immediately, Ahmed Shehzad fluffing a regulation stop at point, as Sharma and Dhawan cantered along to a 136-run stand under nearly no pressure.

The Indian batsmen were particularly brutal on Pakistan seamer Wahab Riaz, who went for 87 runs in 8.4 overs before limping off injured, the most expensive spell of five overs or more in Champions Trophy history.

"Till 40 I was easing into the game", Kohli said later.

Their scoring was consistent but conservative until both men livened up as they approached their half-centuries, Sharma crossing the line with six off Shadab Khan and Dhawan close behind thanks to three successive fours off the wayward Wahab.

Yuvraj added: "We started well with the bat and the bowlers came and stuck to the plan and took wickets at regular intervals". Later on, he was dismissed LBW in Hasan Ali's over.

There was also concern over the fitness of several Pakistan players.

"Yuvi's innings, I think, was the game-changing innings", said Kohli.

"And if we can get anything over six and a half runs an over, whatever overs we play, we'll be able to create some pressure and get wickets in the middle overs", said Kohli. But he too failed as he got run out cheaply for 15 runs. Kohli and Hardik Pandya then stroked 34 runs off the remaining 10 balls to take India to a formidable total.

Yuvraj's 53 off 32 balls was full of eye-catching strokeplay and helped India break free from a sluggish phase towards the back end of their innings. "Hopefully we'll take this confidence into the next game against Sri Lanka". "We had named 12 yesterday (Friday), and then we decided in the morning that the surface was hard enough for the bowlers to keep hitting good, hard lengths and use the bouncer every over".

Mickey Arthur, Pakistan's head coach, fronted up after the match, describing the result as a "reality check" for a side who are lowest ranked in the eight-team tournament while lamenting the two dropped catches that gave reprieves to Yuvraj and Kohli on eight and 43 respectively. They play spin really well, and majority are right-handers. You just have to go and back yourself, and tell the opposition that you're here to attack.

Pakistan had won the toss and, after a minute's silence for the London terror attack, saw Amir send down a brilliant first over. I was lucky I was dropped, but I capitalised and I was hitting it well.

"India-Pakistan is always a big game, and I think it has set us up really well".

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