India begins World Cup with 76-run win against Pakistan

India won against long-time rival Pakistan by 76 runs, in their opening match in the cricket World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Virat Kohli’s strokeful century powered India to reach 300 for seven against Pakistan. Kohli is the first Indian batsman to hit a ton against Pakistan in a World Cup match as men in blue maintain their dominance against Pakistan in World Cups.

Electing to bat, India rode on a 129-run second-wicket partnership between Kohli (107) and Dhawan (73) before pacer Sohail Khan (5-55) checked the surge.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss on Sunday and elected to bat first in the World Cup Pool B opener against archrival Pakistan.

Pakistan scored 224 chasing India’s 300 as Sohail Khan fell to a Mohit Sharma ball — a catch by Umesh Yadav. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was caught at 76 by Ajinkya Rahane — another wicket for Mohammed Shami. Yasir Shah was caught by Umesh Yadav, giving Mohit Sharma his first wicket.

Shahid Afridi in action against India at Adelaide.
Shahid Afridi in action against India at Adelaide.

Shahid Afridi was caught by Virat Kohli off a ball from Mohammed Shami, making it the bowler’s fourth wicket. Wahab Riaz fell almost immediately to another Shami ball, caught behind by Indian skipper MS Dhoni. Umar Akmal was given out after a review by Dhoni. This makes Pakistan’s second duck after Sohaib Maqsood.

Ahmed Shehzad was caught by Ravindra Jadeja off a ball from seamer Yadav, as he reached 47 runs off 73 balls. Two wickets fell almost back-to-back as Maqsood was out for a duck to a catch by Suresh Raina.

Haris Sohail was caught at the slip by Raina, as the team reached 82 runs off 19 overs. Opener Younis Khan was caught by skipper M.S. Dhoni off a ball by Mohammed Shami, at 6 runs.

Earlier, India win their first international after close to three months in this Australian summer. But it is a big one. Against Pakistan.

It was a very good performance,” says MS Dhoni. “I was very happy with our batting. When you are batting first, it is not easy over here. It doesn’t come on that nicely. It has a bit of a variable pace initially. Gets comfortable after that. It was important we stayed in the middle. The big partnership between Virat and Shikhar. And then Raina capitalised as well. The break in between was important. the World Cup itself can get you going. Also the fans. Even before we came here, there were a lot of fans in our lobby. That helped.”

“They played really well,” says Misbah-ul-Haq. “They posted a big total, and bowled really well. We lost our way with three wickets in the middle. The pitch was really good, and with the quality of their batting, 300 was a pretty good effort. If all the batsmen had batted well, it could have been achieved. Two-three batsmen never got in, and got out in the first couple of balls. You can’t say much about that. Now we have to just look forward. You can’t just think of this game. We have to focus on the next one.”

Player of the Match: Virat Kohli

India's Virat kohli drives a ball during the high-voltage match against Pakistan at Adelaide in the fourth match of the World Cup 2015. Photo: ICC
India’s Virat kohli drives a ball during the high-voltage match against Pakistan at Adelaide in the fourth match of the World Cup 2015. Photo: ICC

“Probably one of the biggest in my career so far,” says Virat Kohli, the Man of the Match. “Amazing way to begin our World Cup. Big game against Pakistan, amazing fight from them. expectations are going to be there when you do well for your country./ I just look to stand up to them because I hate to lose and play passionately. I like the expectations. Last couple of days have been too tough. Too many people in the hotel getting worked over. You just have to stay in your little space. My role in the team is to bat through, and the power-hitters can play around knowing that one end is secure. The way Shikhar and Suresh batted today is commendable. The support has been magnificent. We expect the same throughout the tournament. Too loud at times for MS to catch our attention.”

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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