Virat Kohli displayed his exceptional fitness with a 47th ODI century, while KL Rahul also made an impressive comeback with a ton as India on Monday secured a commanding 228-run victory over Pakistan. In a rain-affected Asia Cup Super 4 match, Pakistan’s batting order looked all at sea against an Indian attack comprising of a returning Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and left-armer Kuldeep Yadav among others, as the side was bowled out for 128 (128/8 with two batters unavailable). This triumph stands as India’s largest-ever win against their cross-border rivals.
India set a formidable score of 356 for 2, with Kohli (122 not out off 94 balls) and Rahul (111 not out off 106 balls) both delivering superb centuries. Kuldeep Yadav, then, registered exceptional bowling figures of 5/25 to dismantle their batting lineup. Justifiably, it was a major setback to Pakistan not just because of the landslide loss against arch-rivals, but also due to the massive fall in Net Run Rate. At the top of the table before the game, Pakistan slid to third spot with their NRR at -1.892.
The former Pakistan cricketers also expressed their criticism over the side’s batting order collapse, with former wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal claiming that Babar’s men will even struggle to beat Netherlands at the upcoming ODI World Cup. Akmal lashed out at the Pakistan batters for being aggressive despite the continuous fall of wickets, and insisted that the team management should’ve been proactive in telling the players to play for the NRR.
“If you want a good performance in World Cup, if you want to play in Asia Cup final, and if you have this approach, you will struggle to even beat Netherlands. What is the management doing? Who told you to bowl first? At least tell players to stay on the crease. Your run rate has suffered badly. You chased 190-odd runs in 40-odd overs against Bangladesh,” the former wicketkeeper-batter said on his official YouTube channel.
“Send messages. The way Shadab, Iftikhar, Salman got out. You had to tell them to play the full overs, take the score to at least 260-280. They know the PCB won’t ask them tough questions. There’s no game plan, no approach.
“Everyone has gone for holidays. I’m sorry to say, you’ve performed like school boys against a top team.”
India into final
On Tuesday, India became the first team to enter the Asia Cup final, defeating Sri Lanka by 41 runs in Colombo. Despite a stellar performance from spinner Dunith Wellalage (5/40) that helped the hosts restrict India to 213, Rohit Sharma’s men made a stellar comeback to bowl Sri Lanka out on merely 172.
With India securing a spot in the title clash, the game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan becomes a virtual semi-final. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are now eliminated from the tournament.