Birmingham, June 4 (Indian Express): India outplayed Pakistan in their first game of the Champions Trophy, beating their arch-rivals by 124 runs (D/L) here.
India posted 319/3 and Pakistan were bowled out for 164 in chase of their revised target of 289 off 41 overs.
Taha Anis of Express Tribune adds five talking points from the match.
Ahmad Shahzad scored 12 off 22 balls, Azhar Ali scored 50 off 65, Babar Azam scored eight off 12. That was Pakistan’s top three, while chasing 289 off 41 overs. Mohammad Hafeez then decided to run out Pakistan’s only good batsman, Shoaib Malik, since he didn’t fancy running to the danger end against a Ravindra Jadeja throw. All four had only one thing on their mind: cementing their own spot in the side.
The surprising thing was not that the two openers played in this manner, but that they played at all. Neither are fit for purpose in ODI cricket and should be nowhere near the side. Sarfraz is doing himself no favours by selecting such players in his eleven, while Inzamamul Haq made a mockery of his talk of brave decisions by selecting these players. The selection of Wahab Riaz is one that Sarfraz must explain too; the notion that he is Pakistan’s quickest bowler and hence should be in the side is too ridiculous to be taken seriously. This, of course, is assuming that Sarfraz is the one selecting his playing eleven — but if he isn’t then he should step down.
Mickey Arthur came and talked about adapting to the modern game. Azhar came and did the same. Then along came Sarfraz and we heard the same words once more. It is clear, painfully clear, that this lot of players are not good enough to adopt to the modern game. Building a team filled with young attacking batsmen around Babar seems to be the only way this side will adapt. When multiple attempts at evolution fail, perhaps a revolution is required.
India miles ahead
A look through the sides player by player is enough to show a massive gulf in class between the two sides. For Sarfraz, they have MS Dhoni. For Babar, they have Virat Kohli. For Azhar and Shahzad, they have Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. For Shoaib Malik, they have Yuvraj Singh. Of the line-ups, only Amir and Imad Wasim are superior to Jasprit Bumrah and Jadeja. The gulf in class was woefully apparent. The third best side in the world was playing the eighth-best. It was men against boys. There was always only one winner.
Pakistan batsmen have only themselves to blame
What was particularly galling Pakistan fans was their side’s meek surrender in the chase. On a dead track that had precisely zero to offer for the bowlers, they were neither able to get quick runs nor preserve their wickets. Most of the batsmen took their time in getting going and then threw their wickets away. Almost every single wicket was avoidable; almost every single wicket fell on a delivery that was neither threatening nor worthy of a wicket.
(Picture at the top shows Virat Kohli in action)