Adelaide: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was proud of the manner in which his team clinically decimated Pakistan to hand them a 76-run defeat at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. In fact, he went a step ahead and said that the team would now try to live up to the high standards they have set here yesterday for the rest of the tournament.
Also read: ICC World Cup - India ride on Virat Kohli's ton, beat Pakistan by 76 runs
India players celebrate their win over Pakistan in the World Cup opener at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. Pic/Suman Chattopadhyay
"We have set the benchmark with this win today. We batted well, bowled well and fielded well and we will now try to repeat this throughout the tournament," said the World Champion captain.
Kohli makes history
Virat Kohli wrote his name into the history books by becoming the first Indian to score a century against Pakistan in a World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar had missed out on the three-figure mark by two runs in 2003 in South Africa. Kohli's 22nd ODI ton also saw him level Sourav Ganguly's mark and become the second-highest Indian centurion after Tendulkar.
After Rohit Sharma threw away his wicket with a pre-meditated pull on the front foot that saw him caught by Pakistan sipper Misbah-ul-Haq at mid-off for 15, Dhawan and Virat Kohli steadied the ship. They meticulously stitched up a 129-run patient stand as they worked the Pakistani pacers Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Khan around the Adelaide Oval for singles and twos, punctuated with the odd boundary.
The two Delhiites were going so well that only a mistake could break their run, and that's precisely what happened in the 30th over. Kohli played Haris Sohail towards mid-wicket and set off before stopping dead in his tracks three steps later.
Dhawan had come too far out and failed to beat Ahmed Shehzad's throw to the stumps. Dhawan had done his bit though with a 76-ball 73 (7x4s, 1x6). Raina instead of Ajinkya Rahane, was then sent up the order to keep the right-left combination going, and the southpaw did a fine job of his promotion with 56-ball 74 (5x4s, 3x6s).
India did lose their last five wickets in a huff for just 23 runs, but in the end, 300-7 was more than enough. India's underperforming bowling department exceeded all expectations as Umesh Yadav's pace, Mohammad Shami's bounce and Mohit Sharma consistency left the Pakistanis in sixes and sevens.
Change is the new constant for Team India, felt Dhoni. "Pakistan began by bowling well and it was not an easy wicket given the variable bounce. "It was tough but Virat built his innings brilliantly. Shikhar is also normally known for his aggression, but here he rotated the strike very well. Raina who was promoted also did his job perfectly.
He got his eye in just before the Powerplay overs and then went for his shots. The idea is to change things as per the situation and the improvisation worked," said Dhoni. Misbah also doffed his hat to Dhoni & Co. "One-day cricket is all about taking wickets and we could not do that. India were totally professional today. They batted well and bowled well. We were just not in the game," he said.
India vs Pakistan, Adelaide Oval
Pakistan did to Virat Kohli what they did to Sachin Tendulkar at Mohali in 2011. While Sachin was dropped four times, Kohli was dropped twice. Yasir Shah dropped a difficult chance off him while he was on three. Stand-in keeper Umar Akmal dropped a sitter off Haris Sohail on 75. He went onto score a match-winning 107, his 22nd ODI ton.
Pakistan missed a trick in the team selection itself. They chose to drop their regular wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed for an extra batsman and chose Umar Akmal to keep wickets. That move clearly backfired as Umar Akmal dropped Virat Kohli when he was on 75. The stand-in keeper was out without troubling the scorers as well.
X-factor: Suresh Raina
Raina was not in the best of form coming into the game. Yet, he scored a counter-attacking 74 off 56 balls with five fours and three sixes. He also picked crucial catches of Haris Sohail and Sohaib Maqsood and also threw himself around in the field to save crucial runs. He certainly was the X-factor for the team.