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Sunday, February 15, 2015
World Cup Report Match 4: India v Pakistan
A captain won the toss and batted, Virat Kohli was dropped three times, a packed Adelaide Oval made so much noise television viewers could at times barely hear the commentary, and a rather serene one day match took place concluding in India again besting their rivals Pakistan.
India batted first upon winning the toss (the first time in four matches in this tournament), and despite predictions of massive totals, India moved along at 4-5 runs an over, due to some good bowling from Pakistan's pace attack. One wonders whether the course of the match would have changed had any of the three catches Kohli offered up were taken. All three were difficult, although Umar Akmal's at keeper was perhaps as much a blot on taking in a part-time keeper, but even if he had been snared there when on 74, perhaps a more approachable total could have been kept to. As it turned out Pakistan bowled well at the death, allowing only 30 runs off the last five overs to halt the Indian innings at 7/300.
Kohli, despite his chances, batted as only he can, for the most part taking the singles and twos on offer, and working boundaries when necessary. He made batting look easy. Dhawan made 73 and Raina 74 in support. Pakistan never really loosened the reins, but by not being able to penetrate early, allowed India too many wickets to play with late in the innings to stop them from reaching 300.
In reply, Pakistan were the opposite, losing wickets just when partnerships were beginning to form, which retarded their momentum at every turn. India's fast bowling attack appeared to appreciate not bowling to Australians, and Yadav, Shami and Mohit Sharma all bowled with good pace and fire. With two of their preliminary matches scheduled at the W.A.C.A one would assume these three will enjoy the experience. Pakistan skipper Misbah top scored again, but their batting was obviously a man short in their desire to play an extra bowler. They may have to review that decision for their next fixtures, though it most likely still would not have helped them here.
India will feel they have made the perfect start to their campaign, and may well reflect that the previous three months in Australia have been an aberration. With only a match against South Africa in their section now likely to test them, they will be confident of finishing second at worst now in their group. Pakistan showed enough to suggest they can still be a force in their group, but their unpredictability means that it would not surprise to see them struggle in the coming weeks either.