Kohli, KL, Kuldeep star as India register biggest win vs Pakistan

Kohli, KL, Kuldeep star as India register biggest win vs Pakistan

Colombo, Sri Lanka. 11th September 2023. India's Kuldeep Yadav (L) and Virat Kohli celebrate their team's victory at the end of the Asia Cup 2023 super four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and Pakistan at the Premadasa Stadium in C

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.