There was a minute's silence before proceedings began at Edgbaston on Sunday. There was not a second of it thereafter. A record crowd provided an electric soundtrack on a frustrating, wet day as India's batsmen pounded Pakistan into the ground in their Group B Champions Trophy encounter. This may be an old, storied rivalry but in recent years these games have been anything but competitive. It was more of the same as India cruised to a 124-run victory (D/L Method), cheered on by a majority of the 24,156 people – the highest attendance for a One-Day International (ODI) at this venue – packed into the ground.
After India had been asked to bat, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan added 136 runs for the first wicket, before Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli clubbed Pakistan around in thrilling fashion. Hardik Pandya then inflicted more pain at the close as India made a colossal 319 for three in 48 overs, the innings shortened after two rain interruptions.
Pakistan's target, adjusted to 324, was further revised to 289 in 41 overs following more showers. It was not long before Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck with the new ball, trapping Ahmed Shehzad in front. Umesh Yadav then had Babar Azam – perhaps the opposition's most gifted batsman – caught at point wafting aimlessly.
And then Ravindra Jadeja – serenaded by chants of 'Go, Ravi Jadeja' from the Eric Hollies Stand – stepped forward. He removed Azhar Ali, who had compiled a sedate fifty, before producing a moment of brilliance in the field. Shoaib Malik, who had just struck a neat six, pushed Yadav into the offside and set off for a single. Jadeja sprinted to his left, picked the ball up, and hit the stumps with a brilliant throw even as he regained his balance. Malik had turned around but it was too late. The end was all too swift for Pakistan, which lost its last six wickets for 50 runs. Kohli's men were sloppy in the field, but it did not come to matter.
In the morning, India began in cautious fashion against Mohammad Amir, but steadily raised the tempo after the first rain break in the 10th over. This was Rohit's first game of international cricket since October, and although this 71-ball half-century was not his most fluent effort, it helped lay a strong foundation. At the other end, Dhawan raced to his fifty, cutting and driving Riaz for a hat-trick of fours. India seemed to take a particular liking to the left-armer, who would eventually finish with figures of 0 for 87 from 8.4 overs before limping off injured. He later would not come out to bat, having twisted his ankle.
Dhawan fell for 68, picking out cow corner off a full toss from Shadab. Rohit was run out nine short of a hundred, his bat in the air as he tried to cross the line.
That brought Yuvraj to the crease. And he tore Pakistan to shreds, striking the ball with delicious ease. He offered the fielders one chance on eight, but was dropped at long off by Hasan Ali. Yuvraj was on eight then and the partnership for the third wicket worth only 13. The left-hander would finish with 53 off 32, having added 93 off 58 in Kohli's company. Amir was pulled effortlessly to the boundary and Hasan Ali launched over square leg. When a top-edge flew to the boundary through fine-leg, it brought up Yuvraj's fifty, off only 29 balls.
Kohli, who had been slower in comparison, then exploded to life. He was dropped on 43 by the substitute Fahim Ashraf and then walloped Riaz, taking 15 runs off the 46th over. Hasan Ali was punished next, driven through extra cover and gloriously sent sailing over the ropes in the same area. This was Kohli in full, exhilarating flow. He finished unbeaten on 81, having scored 37 off his last 12 balls. Pandya, promoted up the order, arrived at Yuvraj's exit to bash three consecutive sixes in Imad Wasim's final over. India had added 72 runs off the last four overs, soaring past 300 and knocking the stuffing out of Pakistan.
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