Team India has continued their unbeaten run in the 2023 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup after the Rohit Sharma-led team cruised past Pakistan, beating the arch-rivals by 7 wickets at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad, thanks to glorious knocks by Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer and important contributions by the Indian bowlers. While the playing XI for India was pretty much the same, the only change that should’ve been made was the bringing in of R Ashwin instead of Shardul Thakur, given that the pitch today had some turn in it. Meanwhile, Pakistan used the same XI as they did in the last match.
The match today started on a high note after spectacular performances by Shankar Mahadevan, Arijit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh in the opening ceremony of the match after which India won the toss and chose to bowl first. The Pakistani team started off well and scored some early runs in the powerplay, only losing one wicket. In spite of Abdullah’s wicket, Pakistan still held their partnerships and kept scoring important runs which included a half-century by Babar Azam and a 49 run inning by Mohd Rizwan. However, what followed will not be forgotten any time soon (and not in a good way). After Babar Azam’s dismissal, it seemed as if the Pakistani team suddenly lost their concentration and the momentum they had built until then. After losing Babar on 155/2, Pakistan went on to lose wickets in quick succession, thanks to some brilliant bowling by Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah who, along with help from Jadeja brought Pakistan down to 191 all out.
After the innings break, it was all but India’s match to win and they started appropriately with Rohit and Gill smashing the balls to the boundaries left and right. However, a brilliant jumping catch by Shadab Khan, sent Gill back to the pavilion just as he was starting to get on with his ‘A game’. Rohit kept on with his form from the last match and scored 86 runs which included 6 fours and 6 sixes, passing the milestone of scoring 300 sixes in ODIs. This was followed by a small cameo by Virat Kohli who showed pure class in the shots he played before he was dismissed and a well-deserved half-century by Shreyas Iyer who brought up his 50 with a boundary which was also the winning shot for India.
In the post match presentation, the skipper, Rohit Sharma said, “The bowlers were the ones today as well who set the game up for us. I don’t think it was a 190 pitch. At one stage we were looking at 280. The way they showed grit says a lot. That is something we pride ourselves in. Whoever gets the ball does the job. We’ve got 6 individuals who can do the job with the ball. My job as a captain is important there as well. It’s to read the conditions and figure out who’s the right guy to do the job. It’s only because the guys – before entering the WC – they got a lot of runs. We were very clear what we wanted to do. Didn’t want to be in two minds about who’s going to bat where. All in all, it’s looking good. Want to keep my fingers crossed. Don’t want to get too excited. Don’t want to get too low as well. Want to stay balanced. Keep calm and keep moving forward. Every opposition we come up against are all quality. You have to play well on that particular day, and that’s what we’re looking at.”