Team India produced a clinical all-round
performance to record their biggest-ever ODI win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup,
beating their neighbours by a monumental 228 runs in Colombo. Virat Kohli and
KL Rahul smashed centuries to lift the Men in Blue to an ominous total of 356/2
before Kuldeep Yadav registered figures of 5 for 25 to skittle Pakistan for 128
and lift Rohit Sharma’s side to a statement win against their age-old rivals.
In a game stretching to two days due to
rain interruptions, team India dominated from start to finish to lay down a
marker ahead of the World Cup. The openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill got the
Men in Blue off to a strong start after being put into bat by Babar Azam. The
pair showed immediate signs of aggression against the new-ball, throwing the
Pakistani pacers Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah off their lines to take India
to 61/0 to end the powerplay.
Gill got to his half-century of just 37
deliveries, while Rohit Sharma smashed Shadab Khan for three sixes to bring up
his own fifty. Both openers departed in successive overs shortly after bringing
up the century stand, bringing Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to the crease before
persistent showers pushed the game to the reserve day.
Resuming on an overnight score of 147/2,
the Indian pair punished the Pakistani attack that was a bowler short, with
Haris Rauf sidelined as a precautionary measure. The pacer’s absence forced
Babar Azam to turn to off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed to complete his overs, and the
duo went after the part-timer, taking 52 runs from his 5.4 overs.
Rahul dominated the early parts of the
record 233-run stand, dominating the bowlers on his return from injury, while
Kohli ran hard between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking. Both batters
brought up their momentous centuries in consecutive overs and went on to add 92
off the final eight to take India to 356/2.
In reply, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj
asked plenty of questions of the Pakistani top order under lights, getting the
ball to move sharply. Bowling in ODIs for the first time since 2022, Bumrah
conceded just 18 runs in his five overs and had Imam-ul-Haq edging to slip in
the powerplay. Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur also enjoyed plenty of success
with the movement on offer, with the all-rounder producing a peach to remove
Babar Azam before Shardul Thakur nicked off Mohammed Rizwan.
Kuldeep Yadav joined the party after the early
breakthroughs. The wrist-spinner dismantled the rest of the Pakistani batting
line-up with his assortment of variations, picking up five wickets in his eight
overs to lift India to a commanding victory by 228 runs.