India beat arch rivals Pakistan by 76 runs in their first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup at the Adelaide Oval. Ending all doubt about whether they would be able to clinch their sixth consecutive win over Pakistan owing to their poor performance in recent matches, they marched on victorious to a standing ovation from the Indian fans.
The stars behind India’s spirited show were Virat Kohli, who cracked 107, Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (74). Indian pacers Mohammad Shami with four wickets for 35 runs and Umesh Yadav through two vital wickets for 50 runs also rose to the challenge. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored a valiant 76 and pacer Sohail Khan’s spell of 5 for 55 went in vain.
It was an electrifying match from the start, watched by 41,587 spectators, with India winning the toss and electing to bat. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan gave India a strong start. Seven-foot tall Mohammad Irfan generated excellent pace and bounce off the wicket and made Dhawan edge one past second slip. The first boundary of the day came from Dhawan as he cut Sohail Khan to the boundary. Sharma picked up his first boundary by flicking Irfan.
Pakistani cricket fans react as they watch the live broadcast of the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Indian in Lahore on February 15, 2015.
The openers went for their shots, Dhawan hooking Irfan for a six in the seventh over. With the score on 33, Sohail Khan picked up his first wicket, Rohit Sharma caught by Misbah at mid-off for 15. Kohli came in and went for his shots right away and in the first 15 overs India were 71 for 1.
Kohli offered some difficult chances too. Yasir Shah could not hold onto a running chance at deep wicket when the batsman was on 3 and left-arm spinner Harris Sohail’s orthodox delivery went past the gloves of wicketkeeper Umar Akmal when he was on 76.
Kohli and Dhawan put on 129 runs for the second wicket to set the stage for a big score. Dhawan, who looked all set for a century, was run out for 73 as he could not beat Ahmad Shehzad’s quick and accurate throw from mid-wicket. Suresh Raina began with a six off Haris Sohail to deep midwicket. India reached the 200 run mark in the 37th over.
Kohli reached his century in the 43rd over to become the first Indian to score a hundred in a World Cup match against Pakistan. It was also his 22nd century in One Day Internationals, drawing level with former Indian captain and opener Sourav Ganguly.
Raina slog swept Afridi for a six. He went on to hit Sohail Khan for three consecutive boundaries. Kohli fell in the 46th over edging Sohail Khan to the wicketkeeper for 107. The pair put on 110 runs for the third wicket. Khan then went on to dismiss Raina for 74 and pick up the wickets of Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni and Rahane to return with figures of 5 for 55 as the Indian innings ended at 300 for 7.
Many felt that after such a great start, India should have posted over 330 runs but for Khan’s fine spell. Chasing a gettable run rate of six an over, Pakistan needed a good start. Younis Khan, who opened with Ahmad Shehzad, lasted only ten balls. Mohammad Shami produced a fine bouncer that hit his glove lobbed to wicketkeeper Dhoni.
Next man Haris Sohail began in style by hitting Umesh Yadav for three boundaries. Sohail and Shehzad put on 68 runs for the second wicket before Ravichandran Ashwin provided the breakthrough. Shehzad, who was stroking well and looked set for a half century, departed playing at a short and wide delivery from Umesh Yadav for 47, caught by Jadeja who almost dropped him but took it at the second attempt. What followed turned the match on its head.
Sohail Maqsood fell for a duck to Yadav and Jadeja dismissed Umar Akmal for another duck caught by Dhoni after a review. Five down for 103 at the halfway mark, Shahid Afridi joined Misbah. They lit up hopes of fightback with a 46-run partnership in 9.3 overs. In the 35th over Afridi lost his concentration and hit a full toss from Shami to Kohli at covers. Shami dismissed next man Wahab Riaz in the same over.
Misbah held the innings together with 76 runs, but fell in the 46th over and Pakistan were bowled out for 224 in 47 overs.