United India Crush Pakistan in Birmingham
June 4 2017
Prior to India's defense of the ICC Champions Trophy, a news story peddled by Cricinfo about the supposed serious rift in the Indian camp between captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble broke. When others questioned the veracity of the story Cricinfo took the unusual stand of doubling down on its claim of such a rift by citing "unnamed" sources who apparently had direct knowledge of the alleged rift... while not presenting either Kohli's or Kumble's take on the issue. On the eve of the match the issue once again raised its head at a pre-match conference and Kohli flatly denied such a rift and rubbished the report.
India's performance on the field was further evidence that the Cricinfo story was in the realm of FAKE news. India did not look like a side torn by dissension in the dressing room, but rather a team playing as a unit, and one that was a happy and focused bunch. If there are differences between the Captain and the Coach, and even among the closest of friends, let alone two strong minded individuals doing a professional job to their best of their abilities, differences are bound to occur, they were nothing to the level suggested by the whisper campaign that Cricinfo began. This begs the question who put Cricinfo up to it?
The suspicion is that it was the BCCI office holders (not necessarily the Supreme Court appointed CoA overseeing them) who were behind this, as they were miffed by Kumble's championing the cause of Indian players both international and domestic and demanding significant pay hikes for all. The release of the Ramchandra Guha resignation letter and its self righteous criticisms also seemed part of the plot. Anyway the bottom line is that Kumble has thrown his hat into the ring for the job of coach again, along with several others including apparently Tom Moody and Virender Sehwag. Events will take their course. But now that the key pressure match with Pakistan is behind them, Team India can safely ignore the machinations of the media and focus on trying to win the ICC Champions Trophy again.
As for the match itself it went mostly to script. Pakistan won the toss and inserted India in. Maybe Pakistan hoped for swing or seam to help their medium pacers due to the overcast conditions. But curiosly their captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, then opened the bowling with one pacer and one left arm spinner. India meanwhile seemed to have a game plan of laying a strong platform without losing wickets and then letting their explosive middle order loose. This is exactly what they did. All of the top four batsmen made 50s and the fifth smashed 20 off 6 balls to reach a very good score of 319-3.
This then became a target of 324 in 48 per the Duckworth Lewis rules after two overs were wiped out due to a rain interruption. Further interruptions then reduced the final target to 289 off 41. The big fear that Indian fans momentarily had was that if the match was reduced to 20 overs Pakistan's target was only 104 for no loss to win the game. However, such a travesty was avoided as Edgbaston saw the last several hours of the game being played out in gorgeous sunshine.
When the 20th over was bowled Pakistan were 93-3 and all Indian fans breathed a sigh of relief, as there would now be a result, and it was most likely India would get the win and the vital 2 points. Despite somewhat uncharacteristicly sloppy catching and fielding, India still had enough brilliance in both areas, along with the expected disciplined bowling to romp home in the end by 124 runs, making their Win-Loss record in all ICC tournaments against Pakistan a hopelessly one sided 13-2.
What was so obvious to any observer is the widening gap between the standard of cricket in all facets of the game from skills, to fitness, to tactics and thus results between India and Pakistan. A telling sign of which was the fact that two of the Pakistani medium pacers couldn't complete their quota of overs, one due to cramps and the other due to apparently an ankle strain, while the Indian fast bowlers had no such issues.
Pakistani cricket fans need to ask both the PCB and their government to take a deep, reflective look at what is going on in their country and honestly answer whether that is leading to a once powerful cricket nation being slowly turned into minnows of the game.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:07:20:15:51:52 by Birbal.
India didn't even pick Shami, Ashwin and Rahane... three who would probably just walk into the Pak side...
True. All 3 are quality players.
I was a bit unconvinced about India batting before this match.
Rohit is a bit inconsistent. Yuvraj was not in best of his forms. Hardik has never played in England before.
I was confident about Kohli,Dhoni and Dhawan.
But this match has solved all puzzles about batting.
All of batsmen have come into form thanks to Pakistan. We should be grateful to them.
Things most useful for instant cricket such as good outfielding, hard running, besides good batsmanship is largely missing....
India-A would have beaten Pakistan, honestly...
24 needed with a bunny coming in at 11? No problem!