On Sunday night, arguably the biggest match-up in World Cup cricket took place at Old Trafford in Manchester, where the rains were largely kept away by a few billion prayers. India faced Pakistan for the seventh time in cricket World Cups. And India defeated Pakistan for the seventh time in World Cups, this time by 89 comfortable runs. Rohit Sharma was the hero again, while India won their 3rd out of 4 opening matches in the 2019 World Cup – like the 2015 edition, they remain the only undefeated side along with New Zealand so far. Indian fans were ecstatic, and Pakistani fans were distraught but self-depreciatory and passionate in defeat.
A few fascinating facts and numbers stood out from the latest edition of this famous rivalry:
– Rohit Sharma became the first Indian batsman to score two consecutive ODI centuries against Pakistan (including the hundred against Pakistan in Dubai in the Asia Cup in 2018).
– Sarfraz Ahmed became the first Pakistani captain to yawn three consecutive times on camera while marshalling his troops after a drinks break in the field.
– With this win, India has not been beaten in the group stages of a World Cup since their defeat to South Africa in Kanpur in 2011. They won all 6 in 2015, and have won 3 out of 4 in 2019, with the one against New Zealand washed out.
– This is Pakistan’s third defeat in 5 games this World Cup, leaving them just above Afghanistan in the points table.
– Rohit scored 58 of his 140 runs in cut and pull shots.
– At least 5.8 crore viewers were stunned when Vijay Shankar picked up a wicket (an opener, no less) with his first ever World Cup delivery. Kohli was one of them.
– The ball by Kuldeep to bowl Babar Azam will go down as the best ball of the 2019 World Cup, especially considering the tense situation and the magnitude of the breakthrough.
– Kohli’s “walk” against Mohammed Amir, in which the Indian captain declared himself out despite not nicking a short ball to the keeper, might go down as the most extreme display of sportsmanship in modern history. Maybe Kohli just wanted his middle order to be tested, and this was his way of declaring an innings against a team that could not make him play a false shot.
– Fakhar Zaman’s throw to the wrong end when Rohit Sharma was on 33 and stranded in the middle of the pitch will count as Pakistan’s biggest gaffe on the day. Even more remarkable was bowler Wahab Riaz’s oblivious reaction to the throw, where he simply palmed the ball away instead of collecting it and throwing it to the desperate keeper. Rohit went on to score 107 more runs. Pakistan lost by 89.
– India’s two best bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, went wicketless. Pakistan’s Amir became the highest wicket-taker of this World Cup so far. And Hardik Pandya became the first Asian bowler to pick up a wicket off an awful leg-stump half-volley when he urged ‘Professor’ Hafeez into a chip to deep midwicket.
– This was Rohit Sharma’s 24th ODI century. As an Indian, he is only third to Sachin Tendulkar (49) and Virat Kohli (41). This was his 18th century in a winning cause. He averages 48.11 in 207 matches, behind only Kohli (59) and Dhoni (51).
– During his knock of 77, Kohli became the fastest batsman to 11,000 ODI runs (222 innings), a good 54 faster than Tendulkar (276 innings). Kohli has only two centuries in World Cup cricket so far, a statistic he will want to improve upon in India’s next 5 group-stage games against Afghanistan, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
– Pakistan has reached only one semifinal of a World Cup since their final in 1999. In 2003, they crashed out at the Super Six stage. In 2007, they crashed out in the group stages. In 2011, they made the semis and lost to India. In 2015, they crashed out in the quarterfinals to Australia. India has made two finals and 1 semifinal in the 4 World Cups since 1999.
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