Kohli Leads India To Convincing Champions Trophy Win Over Pakistan

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India may one day tire of beating Pakistan at ICC tournaments, but they were damned if it was going to happen in the British-Asian heartland of Birmingham.
Cheered on by the lion's share of a crowd of 24,156 - a record for an Edgbaston one-day international - Virat Kohli's side began their defence of the Champions Trophy with a 124-run win so facile it could have been scripted by the Bharat Army, India's answer to the Barmies.
By the time Hasan Ali flicked Umesh Yadav tamely to midwicket in unlikely evening sunshine, India had long since wrapped up their seventh successive victory over their old adversaries at global events.

There will be many more.
Virat Kohli's glorious strokeplay at the end of the Indian innings helped them to an easy victory
Since the start of 2016, Kohli, right, has scored 1,005 ODI runs at an average of 91.36
Pakistan's chase was twice interrupted by the weather but their prospects never looked bright
India won by 124 runs in the opening match of their Champions Trophy campaign at Edgbaston
The sequence says much about India's expertise in the white-ball formats, forged in the furnace of the IPL, and about Pakistan's stagnation outside the Test arena. 
It was like watching laser technology do battle with a carrier pigeon.
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Only when Kohli appeared to be hit by residue from a firework as the sides walked out for the national anthems was India's composure ruffled.
'It was a very clinical performance from our team,' he said.

'It's a massive win for us.'
The Indian innings of 319 for three in a rain-splattered 48 overs had revolved around a quartet of half-centuries, of which Yuvraj Singh's 32-ball 53 was the most brutal, and Kohli's unbeaten 81 from 68 the most watchable.
Chasing a weather-adjusted 289 in 41 overs, Pakistan never came close.

Their innings contained plenty of elegant drives for no run, and more swishes and misses than Birmingham's Walkabout on a Saturday night. No one managed more than opener Azhar Ali's stately 50 from 65 balls.
India's seamers were relentless, it's true, but the run-out of Shoaib Malik, unwisely provoking the left arm of Ravindra Jadeja, summed up the mess.

Even with India blundering in the field, Pakistan were dismissed for 164 with more than seven overs unused.
'It's a reality check of where we are with our one-day cricket,' said their coach Mickey Arthur, who angrily denied his team had shown a lack of effort. 
India's Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya touch gloves as they helped set Pakistan a total of 320
Rohit Sharma marks his half-century at Edgbaston - he was eventually dismissed for 91

Sharma, the Indian opener, smashes a shot to the boundary during his innings of 91
India's Yuvraj Singh celebrates after reaching his half-century in the Champions Trophy match
Pakistan's Hasan Ali appeals successfully for the wicket of Yuvraj Singh, who was out for 53

'The worrying thing for me is we did the basics wrong.

We drop simple catches, we don't run well between wickets, we don't understand when to bowl our variations.
'We were below par, and the only thing I can think of is the magnitude of the occasion got to them.'
The contrast with what had come before was painful, after Shikhar Dhawan had kickstarted the match with a lively 68 from 65 balls.
And rockfishlax.com if Dhawan's fellow opener Rohit Sharma ate up 119 deliveries - including 63 dots - while making an old-fashioned 91, then India's late assault put into perspective the decision of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed to bowl first.
As the innings climaxed, Pakistan disintegrated.

First Mohammad Amir, their attack leader, left the field with cramp with 11 balls of his allocation still to go - an injury which, on a damp day in the Midlands, baffled Arthur.
Virat Kohli, who made 81 runs for India, acknowledges the crowd at the end of the innings
India captain Virat Kohli shows his concern towards Pakistan bowler Wahab Riaz
Then his fellow left-armer Wahab Riaz followed him into the pavilion nursing a sore ankle and eye-watering figures of 8.4-0-87-0.

He was unable to bat.
With Yuvraj dropped on eight, and Kohli on 43 - both bad misses in the outfield - India were granted one gift after another.
In all, 72 runs came from the last four overs, including three successive sixes by Hardik Pandya off slow left-armer Imad Wasim.
The noise generated was second only to the frisson that went round the ground when Sachin Tendulkar, in town to cheer on his boys, appeared on the big screen.
But this Indian team have no need to wallow in the past, and it will take strong opposition to deny them in the immediate future.
For their part, Pakistan will be out if they lose here to South Africa on Wednesday.

Only an optimist would imagine otherwise.



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