Adelaide: In the cricket’s version of a gladiatorial streetfight, defending champions India won the toss and elected to bat against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday in a high-voltage World Cup clash at the Adelaide Oval.
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Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan made a watchful start against Pakistan opening bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Khan. Dhawan had a close shave in the second over when Sohail appealed for LBW. But the ball had hit his bat before going to smash into his pads.
Dhawan then hit first four of the Indian innings when he cut one off Sohail Khan’s bowling. Rohit joined the party as he stroked two boundaries in the fifth over to take India’s score to 21.
Meanwhile, the Indian fans were missing Sachin Tendulkar. The legend was a key part of the Indian team during last six World Cups. The jam packed Adelaide also witnessed fans having a good time.
Dhawan launched into Mohammad Irfan in the seventh over and smacked him for a six over the mid-wicket boundary. However, the joy for Indian fans was shortlived as Sohail Khan dismissed Rohit Sharma in the 8th over.
It was a battle of attrition as Kohli and Dhawan played it safe while Pakistan too did not try hard to put Indian under pressure. India brought up their fifty in the 12th over. Pakistan had a chance to cut short Kohli’s innings. But Yasir Shah could not manage to hold onto a difficult catch off Afridi’s bowling.
While Kohli and Dhawan were watchful in the earlier part of their partnership, the Delhi duo launched into the attack as they brought up fifty-run partnership. Dhawan, who had a horrible run recently, scored his first World Cup fifty in his first ever game in the tournament.
Kohli, meanwhile, attacked the young leg-spinner Yasir Shah to up the ante. Then, he joined his Delhi teammate and brought up his fifty. The duo continued to torment Pakistan with hitting boundaries at will and without much trouble.
But Pakistan managed to break the partnership when the confusion between Kohli and Dhawan cost India Dhawan’s wicket. Kohli first gave a call for a quick single but seeing Afridi moving in quickly, Kohli decided not to run. However, it was tad too late for Dhawan and he had to walk back to the dressing room after scoring 73 off 76 balls.
After Dhawan’s dismissal, Suresh Raina joined Kohli in the middle. The Kohli-Raina duo did not take too many rusn in the powerplay overs and scored only 25 runs. However, as the batting powerplay came to an end, the duo bulldozed Pakistan bowling attack.
While Raina scored a fifty, Virat Kohli became the first Indian batsman to score a hundred against Pakistan in the World Cup.