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14-Oct-2023 14:56:00 GMT
India vs Pakistan - 12th Match, Ahmedabad

Impressive India demolish poor Pakistan, make 8-0

India 192 for 3 (Rohit 86, Iyer 53*, Afridi 2-36) beat Pakistan 191 (Babar 50, Rizwan 49, Bumrah 2-19) by 7 wickets

Ahmedabad: India demolished Pakistan as the most eagerly awaited contest of the World Cup so far turned into a one-sided anti-climax in Ahmedabad.

Pakistan have never beaten India in a men's 50-over World Cup, but looked to be laying a platform to challenge the hosts when they reached 155-2 in the cauldron of the world's largest cricket stadium.

What followed was an implosion. Captain Babar Azam was bowled by Mohammed Siraj for 50 to begin a collapse of eight wickets for 36 runs, Pakistan spiralling to 191 all out. Siraj was one of five India bowlers to pick up two wickets.

The target seemed so unlikely to trouble the powerful India batting line-up. Though Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli were both out for 16, home skipper Rohit Sharma batted magnificently for an 86 that put the result beyond doubt.

Rohit shared 77 for the third wicket with Shreyas Iyer, who ended on 53 not out, as victory was sealed with almost 20 overs to spare.

For India, an eighth successive defeat of Pakistan in World Cups, a run that stretches back to 1992, is their third win in three games in this year's tournament. They join New Zealand at the top of the group table and next meet Afghanistan on Thursday.

Pakistan lose for the first time at this World Cup, but that disappointment will be nothing in the context of such a meek performance against their fiercest rivals. They move on to play Australia in Bengaluru on Friday.

As ever, this was billed as the highlight of the group stage of the tournament. To some, it is even more important than the final. This particular meeting between India and Pakistan had the added intrigue of it taking place in India, with none of the Pakistan XI having played in India before.

The match was preceded by a concert, essentially an opening ceremony the tournament itself did not have. The venue, the Narendra Modi Stadium, has a capacity of 132,000. With next to no Pakistan fans inside, it created one of the most partisan atmospheres in the history of all sport. Every India boundary and wicket was met with a cacophony of noise, similar Pakistan successes greeted by near silence.

The contest was on a knife-edge when Babar and Mohammad Rizwan were adding 82 for the third Pakistan wicket. India and their supporters were growing concerned until Siraj got one to keep slightly low en route to Babar's off stump.

From there, Pakistan fell apart, a collapse mainly of their own making hinting at a psychological barrier when it comes to this fixture at the 50-over Wold Cup. Early wickets were needed to put India under any sort of pressure, but Rohit's strokeplay was almost disdainful.

India move onwards in what seems an unstoppable march towards the semi-finals, while Pakistan must regroup to face Australia. It is the start of a tough and decisive run of fixtures that also includes meetings with South Africa, New Zealand and England.

In a wider sense, it is another one-sided contest in a World Cup that is crying out for a close finish.

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