Birmingham: India completed an all-round performance, to defeat Pakistan in their opening Group B encounter, notching-up a 124-run win by Duckworth Lewis method.
The Men in Blue added yet another win to their string of victories against their arch-rivals in ICC tournaments.
This time however, India were much more convincing, as they completely dominated Pakistan. So let us take a look at some key areas where India won the game.
The Yuvraj blitzkrieg
India had started off steadily, but constant rain delays kept halting their momentum, at times when they were just starting to up the ante. When Rohit Sharma got out in the 36th over in the match which was reduced to 48 overs, it looked as though the Pakistan bowlers would be able to restrict India to an achievable total.
In came Yuvraj Singh, the man who had belted Englishman Stuart Broad for 36 runs in an over in the 2007 ICC World T20. The 35-year-old blasted 53 runs from 32 balls, smashing eight boundaries and one six.
Yuvi’s knock gave some much-needed momentum to the India innings late on, and helped them most a mammoth score of 319 for three from 48 overs.
Hardik Pandya’s cameo
Hardik Pandya is turning out to be the all-rounder that India always wanted. Not only can he come in to open with the ball, but he can also be a reliable middle-order batsman when required. In this case, he was promoted up the order, ahead of more accomplished batsmen like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav.
The Baroda all-rounder repaid the faith shown in him by the team management, by belting 20 runs from just six balls. More importantly, he smashed Imad Wasim for three 6s of the first three balls of the penultimate over of the India innings.
In the larger scheme of things, this may not have affected the match as much, but it served well to dent Pakistan’s morale ahead of the innings break.
Pakistan batters failed to launch into overdrive-mode
Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad had gotten Pakistan off to a steady start in the powerplay overs. At this time, it looked as though Pakistan were taking the same steady approach that the Indians took, before launching into the overdrive mode, in the death overs.
However, the switch in gears never took place, as the Indian bowlers started picking up wickets at regular intervals. To add to that, the Indian fielders created a lot of pressure on the batsmen, despite a couple of misfields here and there.