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India crush Pakistan at Edgbaston

India crushed Pakistan by 124 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method in the ICC Champions Trophy encounter to go top of Pool B at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Sunday.

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Pakistan, who won the toss and elected to bowl first, were bundled out for just 164 in 33.4 overs in reply to India’s 319 for three in 48 overs in a rain-affected game. India’s innings was built around a 136-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) while Umesh Yadav (7.4-1-30-3) starred with the ball.

The match was halted three times due to rain, twice during India’s innings and once while Pakistan chased. India’s innings was given a major boost in the final four overs as Virat Kohli (81 not out), Yuvraj Singh (53) and Hardik Pandya (20 not out) slaughtered the Pakistan bowling attack by smashing 72 runs in the final four overs.

The Pakistan bowling attack, led by Mohammad Aamir (8.1-1-32-0) caused a few problems up front as the left-arm seamer constantly beat the outside edge of Sharma’s bat.

But the opening pair stood steady and had reached 46 without loss when the first rain interruption occurred. When the players returned to the field, Sharma and Dhawan upped the ante, bringing up their century stand off 118 balls.

But it was the young 18-year old left-arm spinner, Shadab Khan (10-0-52-1) that made the breakthrough, although fortuitously, as Dhawan slapped a full-toss straight to Azhar Ali on the legside boundary. Kohli joined Sharma and the pair had added 37 runs for the second wicket before the heavens opened up again.

By the time the players returned, a full hour and a half had been lost and the match was reduced to 48 overs per side. Kohli and Sharma were only able to add a further 19 runs before a quick through from backward point by Babar Azam saw Sharma run out at the striker’s end after Kohli had called for a quick single.

The loss of Sharma started the carnage as Singh walked out to the wicket and smashed eight boundaries and a six, bringing up his half century off 29 balls while adding 93 runs in 9.4 overs for the third wicket.

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Singh’s dismissal in the 47th over, trapped lbw by Hasan Ali (10-0-70-1) brought Pandya to the crease and the righthander smashed three consecutive sixes in the final over, bowled by Imad Wasim (9.1-0-66-0), to launch India to their massive total.

Pakistan started well enough, as Azhar (50) and Ahmed Shehzad (12) added 22 runs in 4.5 overs before rain intervened again. When the players returned for the third time, the target had been revised to 289 in 41 overs but the opening pair were only able to add a further 25 runs before the first wicket fell.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5-1-23-1) managed to get a delivery to straighten and wrap Shehzad on the pads and despite a review, the batsman had to walk.

Pakistan had slumped to 91 for three as Yadav had Babar Azam (8) caught at backward point and then Azhar fell, caught in the deep from the offspin of Ravindra Jadeja (8-0-43-2) by Pandya. Wickets fell at almost regular intervals as Shoab Malik (15) was brilliantly run out with a direct throw from backward point by Jadeja.

Mohammad Hafeez tried to keep the innings afloat, scoring 33 off 43 deliveries but when was caught in the deep, trying to slog-sweep Jadeja, the writing was firmly on the wall. The final four wickets fell for just 33 runs with Wahab Riaz not being able to bat due to an injury he picked up while bowling.

India’s massive win sees them move to the top of Pool B after the first round of matches, equal on two points with South Africa but boasting a massive net run-rate of +3.024 to the +1.920 of the Proteas.

India face-off against Sri Lanka on 8 June while Pakistan must lift themselves when they take on the Proteas on Wednesday, 7 June.

INDIA: RG Sharma, S Dhawan, V Kohli (capt), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), KM Jadhav, HH Pandya, RA Jadeja, B Kumar, UT Yadav, JJ Bumrah

PAKISTAN: Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali

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