Rohit & Kohli inspire India to rout of Pakistan

By Sports Desk June 16, 2019

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli enjoyed landmark days as India routed Pakistan to severely dent their rivals' Cricket World Cup hopes.

Unbeaten at this World Cup, with a washout against New Zealand the only game in which they have not taken maximum points, India demolished Pakistan by 89 runs on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, with Rohit producing a sublime 140 to help India reach 336-5 at Old Trafford.

In doing so he became the fourth player to score 50 or more in five straight innings for India and compiled respective partnerships of 136 and 98 with KL Rahul (57) and Virat Kohli (77), who reached 11,000 ODI runs in his 222nd innings – 54 fewer than previous record holder Sachin Tendulkar.

Pakistan were initially solid if unspectacular in response, but perhaps the most unpredictable side in limited-overs cricket were unable to reproduce the kind of performance that saw them shock England in their only win of the tournament as they crumbled from 117-1 to 165-6.

Kuldeep Yadav removed the productive pairing of Babar Azam (48) and Fakhar Zaman (62). A brilliant delivery through the gate denied Babar a half-century before Fakhar gave the spinner his second scalp with an ill-advised sweep.

Pakistan's middle order wilted in the face of quick bowling from all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar, leaving the tail with a mountainous test they were never likely to pass. 

Hardik took two wickets in two balls and Shankar followed up the dismissal of Imam-ul-Haq, which he claimed first ball upon replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar after he went off with hamstring tightness, by bowling Sarfraz Ahmed.

Rain that had briefly delayed the conclusion of India's innings arrived again, with the stoppage leading to the bizarre spectacle of Pakistan needing 136 off five overs when they returned for a near-impossible chase of a revised 40-over target of 302.

India moved up to third and remain on course for the semi-finals ahead of a meeting with winless Afghanistan, while Pakistan's fading hopes will hinge heavily on their forthcoming clash with South Africa.

ROHIT GIVEN HELPING HAND

Rohit has not needed any assistance during his superb run of form, but he made the most of a pair of huge let-offs early in his latest exhibition of batting prowess as Pakistan missed two run-out opportunities in successive overs.

First Fakhar threw to the wrong end as Rohit made the rash decision to run two, and Shadab Khan then missed with his throw when a direct hit would have seen the opener out on 38.

He went on to reach his century in just 85 balls and hit 14 fours and three maximums before flicking Hasan Ali to short leg.

In scoring five successive ODI fifties for India Rohit joins the elite company of Tendulkar, Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli, who reached 11,000 runs with a glanced four but made the bemusing decision to walk despite getting no top-edge to an attempted hook off Mohammad Amir.

FAKHAR AGAIN AT FAULT

Any hopes Pakistan had of completing a difficult chase went with the exits of Babar and Fakhar.

There was little Babar could do to avoid being clean bowled by a stunner from Kuldeep, but Fakhar's top-edged sweep that presented Yuzvendra Chahal with a dolly was poorly judged and poorly executed.

That set in motion a dismal collapse from Pakistan, for whom the DLS scoreline of their seventh defeat in as many World Cup games with India was flattering.

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