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India overcomes rain, Pakistan in Birmingham

Pakistan outplayed in eight-wicket defeat as India reaches semifinal with spotless record

India overcomes rain, Pakistan in Birmingham - Cricket News
Shikhar Dhawan played an innings of 48 runs in 41 balls.
Nearly 23,000 crammed into Edgbaston for a game that meant little in the larger scheme of things. Frequent rain delays and poor Pakistani batting reduced it to something of a no-contest, with India romping to an eight-wicket win with 17 balls remaining. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja were exceptional with the ball, and Shikhar Dhawan stroked 48 off just 41 balls to pilot the chase.

Set an adjusted Duckworth-Lewis target of 168 in 40 overs, India had to endure two breaks in play before reaching its target. The first interruption reduced the target to 156 from 36 overs, and another delay, with the cut-off time looming, left it chasing 102 from 22 overs.

By then, the match was as good as in the bag though. Rohit Sharma and Dhawan were circumspect early on, but soon found their range as Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan bowled a touch too short. Dhawan played some lovely shots through the covers, while Rohit played the supporting role, and the stand was worth 58 by the time Rohit skipped down the pitch and chipped Saeed Ajmal to midwicket.

Dhawan fell cutting Wahab Riaz to third man, but Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik experienced few stutters on their way to the target, even as Indian fans taunted their counterparts with chants of “Who are you, who are you?”

As has been the case right through the tournament, Pakistan started poorly. Nasir Jamshed got a leg-before decision overturned on review, but didn’t stick around long enough to make the most of it, playing Bhuvneshwar with an angled bat to Suresh Raina at second slip.

After only seven runs were scored in the first five overs, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez took 28 off the next three, targeting Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma in particular. They had taken the score to 50 from 12 overs when rain intervened for the first time.

They came back after 16 minutes and Hafeez, perhaps distracted by some movement near the sightscreen, poked his bat at a Kumar delivery for MS Dhoni to take a fine catch diving to his right. Kamran Akmal inside-edged a big-turning delivery from R Ashwin to Kohli at leg slip, and Pakistan was 70 for 3 when more rain forced the players off for two and a half hours.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq made steady progress when play resumed with the match reduced to 40 overs a side, but there were already signs that the surface was more like those usually found on the subcontinent. As against West Indies, it was Ravindra Jadeja’s introduction that transformed the game. Two tidy overs must have played on Misbah’s mind and when he backed away to manufacture a stroke, Jadeja was just too zippy off the pitch.

Shafiq, who took Imran Farhat’s place in the XI, batted with poise for his 41, but gifted Ishant a wicket by glancing a wayward delivery too fine down the leg side. The umpire wasn’t interested, but Dhoni went for the review and Hot Spot clearly showed the deflection off the face of the bat.

Thereafter, it was a bit of a procession. Shoaib Malik played an ugly stroke across the line to Jadeja to be trapped in front, and then compounded his error by wasting a review. With the ball gripping and turning nearly at right angles, Ashwin bowled Riaz, and it was left to Umar Amin to try and prevent Pakistan being bowled out.

But Ajmal was brilliantly caught by Rohit at silly mid-off, and Junaid superbly run out by Kohli as Pakistan again lost wickets in a heap. When Yadav ran Irfan out, there were still two balls to be bowled. Even the rain couldn’t help save face after a performance like that.

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