Indian cricket is at a different level than Pakistan. This was amply proved at Edgbaston on Sunday with the defending Champions Trophy winners punishing their opponents by 124 runs on Duck-worth Lewis method to open their account.
The Indian Premier League has lifted their cricket to new heights. It was amply exhibited in all three departments at Edgbaston. In contrast, Pakistan faltered in all three, unable to stop the flow of runs in the slog overs, dropped two crucial catches, two of their bowlers fell unfit and finally were lacklustre in batting.
This makes the 12th loss in 16 international matches and the mismatch doused the fire of an Indo-Pak match.
Pakistan would always like to bowl first against India as they would not want them to chase — their strong point — and for that Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bowl. Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim conceded just 46 in the first ten power-play overs. The first of the two rain interruptions did hurt Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan’s momentum. It took a full toss by Shadab Khan to dismiss Dhawan, 68 off 65 balls and a risky single to have Sharma on a well played 91 — his best against Pakistan.
But the real impetus to the innings was provided by Virat Kohli (81 not out off 68 balls with three sixes and six fours) and Yuvraj Singh (32-ball 53 with 8x4s and a six) as both added 93 off just 59 balls. But both were indebted to Pakistan fielders, Yuvraj dropped on eight by Hasan Ali off Shadab while Kohli was let off on 43 by substitute Fahim Ashraf off Wahab Riaz. Both punished bowlers in the slog overs, scoring 72 in the last four overs. Hardik Pandya smashed three sixes in Imad Wasim’s last over of the innings.
Riaz’s selection was erroneous as he was not fully fit three days before the match. He looked out of sorts, conceding 11 boundaries and two sixes. Finally, he and Mohammad Amir both suffered cramps, surprisingly in the relatively cooler 14-16 degree temperature. Sarfraz not bowling Mohammad Hafeez was also strange for the reason that Hafeez could have troubled left-handed Dhawan.
Pakistan’s best chance was on Duck-worth Lewis, needing to reach 103 without loss in the 20 overs which constituted a match. Rain did come but for a short while, revising the target from 324 in 48 to 289 in 41. It proved beyond their reach with Indian seamer Umesh Yadav (3-30), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-23), Hardik Pandya (2-43) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-48) bowled superbly to contain Pakistan to 164.
None of the Pakistani batsmen looked like hitting the ball as hard as the Indians did. Azhar Ali did show some guts in his uncharacteristically fast 60-ball 50 with six boundaries. Shoaib Malik looked like smashing the ball, hitting the only six of the innings before misjudging a single and was run out. Mohammad Hafeez made a laborious 43-ball 33 but never looked a match winner.
So Pakistan are left to play South Africa in a must-win game, also at Edgbaston on Wednesday.