It took two days, but in truth the Colombo rain provided a more serious threat in denying an Indian victory than Pakistan in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup yesterday. A defeat so heavy it could seriously hamper Pakistan’s chances of progression due to the damage it’s done to their net run rate. It was controversially announced in the build up to the match that the clash would include a reserve day, maybe a sensible decision given the weather forecast but the fact no other matches at this stage of the tournament have been afforded an extra day brings competitive integrity into question, but it can’t be doubted that whenever these two countries meet in the modern era the commercial pull and TV audience is likely to be huge.
Pakistan Choose To Bowl First
On Sunday when the game began Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bowl first, possibly with the prospect of rain in mind. The Indian national cricket team openers however started the match in commanding fashion with skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubnam Gill both passing 50 at better than a run a ball. They were both dismissed by the end of the 18th over and Pakistan slowed the run rate slightly before heavy rain arrived in the 25th over with India 147 for 2. Had the rain subsided with enough time for Pakistan to bat 20 overs the game could have concluded on the first day but it didn’t so the game moved into the much talked about reserve day.
Play Resumes After A Delayed Start
After a delayed start again on the second day the Indian pair who resumed, Indian Premier League veteran Virat Kohli and KL Rahul set about the Pakistan bowling building superb match winning partnership. Rahul, who wasn’t originally in the Indian team until Shreyas Iyer had a back spasm in the warm up on Sunday morning scored a brilliant 111 not out, Kohli accelerated to a sensational 122 not out in 94 balls to power India to an imposing 356 for 2.
Pakistan Struggle To Respond
In reply, the Pakistan national cricket team never got started, the returning Jasprit Bumrah produced an excellent delivery to dismiss Inman Ul-Haq caught at slip by Gill, then Hardik Pandya got the big one cleaning up Babar Azam with another fine delivery. Rain arrived again at 44 for 2 yet things got even worse for Pakistan on resumption, after Mohammad Rizwan fell soon after to Shardul Thakur. The introduction of Kuldeep Yadav further tightened the screw, Fakhar Zaman played an ungainly swipe to end a tortuous stay at crease; he top scored though with 27 off 50 balls no other Pakistan batsman passed 23. Yadav bowled beautifully to run through the rest of the Pakistan batting taking 5 for 25, with Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf unable to bat due to injury they fell short by some 228 runs, the largest winning margin in an India V Pakistan ODI contest. A painful two days for Pakistan who will need to pick themselves up quickly to have any hope of progression in this edition of the Asia Cup.
India 356 for 2 (Kohli 122 not out, Rahul 111 Not Out) Beat Pakistan 128 (Yadav 5 for 25) by 228 runs.