#CWC15: Kohli inspires India triumph in sub -continent battle

MATCH 4: Virat Kohli’s century reignited hopes that India are at the ICC Cricket World Cup to retain their crown and not just to make up the numbers after a 76-run win over fierce rivals Pakistan on Sunday.

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In cricket, there is no bigger contest than between sub-continent giants India and Pakistan. Thought by many as the litmus test of both sides’ title credentials, it was India that triumphed in front of 41,587 fans at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

India hadn’t won a competitive match in their three-month long tour of Australia, whereas Pakistan’s recent form had been promising with victories over Bangladesh and England in warm-up matches fuelling belief.

Pakistan have lost their last five World Cup matches against India and, as it turned out, it was the same old story.

That India amassed 300 for seven after Virat Kohli notched his 22nd One-day International century and Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina scored half centuries.

India lost opener Rohit Sharma with 34 on the board, but 129 were added before another wicket fell. By that time Dhawan had made 73 from 76 balls, with 5 fours and a six. It was a moment of fielding brilliance that got him as Misbah-ul-Haq belied his age of 41 and threw down the non-strikers stumps.

Raina then cut loose with making a power-packed 74 alongside Kohli who batted with the cautious freedom allowed him as others scored quickly. He finished with 107 as wickets fell in the push for late runs and Sohail Khan (5 for 55) prospered in the mayhem.

If India have been written off it is more for the weaknesses identified in their bowling attack that their batting, but today they executed their plans expertly to bowl Pakistan out for 224.

Only Misbah-ul-Haq (76 from 84) showed any genuine intent to ruin India’s party.

Mohammed Shami surprised Younis Khan in the fourth over with a lifting delivery that saw the veteran, promoted to open, caught by a running Dhoni off his glove.

Ahmed Shehzad (47) and Haris Sohail (36) put on 68 for the second wicket before the impressicve Ashwin found Sohail’s edge with float and turn.

Three deliveries then killed any lingering Pakistani hopes. Yadav had Shehzad caught by Ravindra Jadeja and Sohaib Maqsood caught by Raina and, in the next over, Jadeja had Akmal caught behind after the decision was reviewed.

Shahid Afridi added 46 with Misbah before Shami got ride of Afridi and Wahab Riaz in the same over.

Misbah’s late fireworks were too little too late and his eventual demise, pulling Shami to mid-on, sealed Indian celebrations.

Indian captain, Dhoni said: “It was a very good performance started by the batsmen. It is important to put runs on the board, and we did well in the difficult first 10 overs and accelerated at the right time. Their has been a lot of fans come over here and it is really helping us as a team.”

A more forlorn Misbah added: “India played really well, we lost wickets at the wrong time. The pitch was really good and India’s batsmen played really well, but 300 could have been chased down.

“Two, three batsmen never got in so you can’t say much about that. Now we have to look forward, every game is important and we need to win the next one to build confidence.”

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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