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  • India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Edgbaston

India spin to win over Pakistan

The Report by Sidharth Monga
June 15, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
India 102 for 2 (Dhawan 48) beat Pakistan 165 (Shafiq 41, Bhuvneshwar 2-19) by 8 wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Besides the spin bowling, India were superb in the field too © AFP
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Just like most of the cricket played in this hyped rivalry, the cricket at Edgbaston - this time because of the weather - was dreary and uncertain, but India eventually registered their first win over Pakistan in a Champions Trophy. However, it was a dead rubber as India were already guaranteed the top slot in the group and Pakistan, the bottom.

It was England overhead all right with all the rain, but underfoot the Edgbaston pitch suited the bowlers from Asia, where a big portion of Birmingham's population has come from. R Ashwin bowled slow and flighted the ball and turned the ball square, Ravindra Jadeja bowled fast and still turned the odd ball square, and Pakistan batsmen capitulated in what began as a full game and was reduced to 40 overs a side after two rain intervals.

Their total of 165 all out was adjusted to 167 because of the break during these innings. India got off to a solid start in response, and it mattered little that the rain eventually brought the target down to 122 in 22 overs. India reached the target in 19.1 overs.

Rain played a critical part in Pakistan's innings. Pakistan did lose the toss, which gave India the best conditions in the rain, but Misbah-ul-Haq said he would have batted first anyway.

Pakistan were recovering from the early wicket of Nasir Jamshed through Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal when the first shower kept the players off for 16 minutes. Hafeez came out and got out first ball, distracted by a falling towel to the left of the sight screen. He didn't pull out of the shot, though. Kamran Akmal tried an ill-advised drive against Ashwin's turn soon, and by the time a bigger rain break arrived Pakistan were 70 for 3 after 19 overs. The loss of three wickets at that break meant their 40-over score wouldn't be adjusted by much under the Duckworth-Lewis calculations.

The rest, Jadeja took care of. Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq looked fluent in a 54-run partnership, but Jadeja's unerring accuracy put paid to their plans. His first over went for three, the second for one, when the three previous overs had gone for seven, four and seven without a shot hit in anger. In Jadeja's third, Misbah gave himself too much room. He backs himself on that shot and often the spinner loses his rhythm, but Jadeja remained flat and straight, and beat Misbah - who was not retreating - on the inside edge to hit the top of the leg stump.

Ishant Sharma, clearly not at his best, got lucky when he got an edge from Asad Shafiq to a leg-side half-volley. However, without the DRS challenge that he went for, this luck wouldn't have counted for much. In the next over, Jadeja trapped Shoaib Malik with a quick arm ball, and Pakistan had gone from 110 for 3 to 139 for 6.

With a long tail in tow, Pakistan were now a bit directionless and India superb in the field. A low catch, a sizzling direct hit, and some decent last overs later, Pakistan were bowled out in 39.4 overs. Now they were up against an opening combination that had batted 36.5 overs with each other in the last two games. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma threatened to become the first Indian opening combination to post three successive century stands, but Rohit chipped to midwicket when the score was 58 in 10.4 overs.

By then, though, the openers had put India far ahead of the D/L par score. There had been a rain break before the wicket, there would be one after, and by that time the Pakistan fans would leave their team's fate in the hands of rain, the only factor that could save them from defeat. The rain relented, though, to allow India just enough time to finish the readjusted chase off.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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