India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017: India dodge rain, crush Pakistan in insipid opener

Indian fans were celebrating once their team got 319/3 off 48 overs. They believed the match was over as a contest. They were not wrong, as Pakistan were bowled out for 164 inside 34 overs, giving India a 124-run win by the Duckworth/Lewis System.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Birmingham | Updated: June 5, 2017 8:17 am
india vs pakistan, ind vs pak, icc champions trophy, cricket news India fans celebrate during the match. (Source: Reuters)

As India-Pakistan games go, the one on Sunday was pretty insipid. Fans expect feverish, passionate, nailbiting, rollercoaster contests in which even neutrals can’t remain uninvolved. They used to be tense affairs, in which no one dared celebrate before the last ball was bowled. What if there was a Miandad-like heist? Or a Salim Malik-like resurrection of the chase? What if an unknown tailender bashed the Indians out of the game?

But in Birmingham, Indian fans were celebrating once their team got 319/3 off 48 overs. They believed the match was over as a contest, and that there was no one in the opposition who could be a threat. They were not wrong, as Pakistan were bowled out for 164 inside 34 overs, giving India a 124-run win by the Duckworth/Lewis System. Those who’ve seen some of the epic contests of the 80’s and early 90’s would have been left emotionally cold by Pakistan’s comatose chase.

But India weren’t complaining. For Virat Kohli and his team, this was the perfect opening game, one that would increase the aura of the defending champions. It ironed out every pre-tournament wrinkle that critics might have noticed. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, both fighting form and fitness issues, turned the clock back to the last Champions Trophy at which they repeatedly gave India winning starts. Yuvraj Singh, who just last year was written off as a has-been, struck the ball like he once did in that 36-run over by Stuart Broad. M S Dhoni would have wondered what he might have done with a pace bowling allrounder like Hardik Pandya — while the former captain had to make do with the Binnys of the world, Kohli had someone who could hit three successive sixes in the final over, and then return to take a couple of wickets bowling consistently at 140 kph plus. It was a day that ticked all the boxes for India. As for Pakistan, they would want to wipe this game from memory as quickly as possible.

The days leading up to the clash were full of stories about the “rift” between Kohli and coach Anil Kumble. Once the proceedings began, however, there were no signs the team was affected by the controversy. The players, it seemed, were far too professional to allow extraneous factors — if any existed — affect their performance on the field.

It probably pointed to the gulf in class between the two teams that the frequent rain interruptions appeared to be the only threat to India beginning its title defence on a perfect note. Indeed, going by India’s dominance over Pakistan over the last few years, the much hyped rivalry now seems a bit contrived. The clashes — all in multilateral events — seem a far cry from the days when Indian fans dreaded the sight of Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Sarfraz Ahmed and the Pakistan think tank too, seemed to concede this — judging by their overly defensive tactics and demeanour in the field. There were no verbal altercations either — the Pakistanis seemed almost in awe of their Indian opponents.

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    ramesh ahuja
    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm
    Pkstn should play in deaf and dumb category
    Reply
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      ramesh ahuja
      Jun 5, 2017 at 12:25 pm
      Huge celebrations in BALUCHISTAN , Thanks for the support and love for India, you guys will be free sooon, PKSTN is weak team ,they will lose against you also.
      Reply
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        Balakrishnan Hariharan
        Jun 5, 2017 at 11:38 am
        This stani side is a Pale Shadow of its illustrious predecessors. But that which is a Very welcome surprise is the Discipline and Incisiveness of the Indian bow . In the three matches they have pla in Old Blightey so far - they have all the time BOWLED OUT THE OPPOSITION.Surely, Kumble deserves credit, the current controversy notwithstanding !!
        Reply
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          James
          Jun 5, 2017 at 11:00 am
          You indians are stupid. stan was not sloppy They gave away wickets so india could win and ICC's bread and butter called Indian viewers keeps intact. Stupi indian views contribute 80 revenue to ICC and gets 20 in return. Read internet. I have never seen such stupid cricket lovers. You keep shouting India India while ICC is counting money. haa haa haa haa Read ICC revenue and BCCI DISPUTE. You begg ars
          Reply
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            Nishant Ranjan
            Jun 5, 2017 at 11:10 am
            Why they gave their wickets.who told them to gave it.You or your dad..tell...Whatever ICC is earning is not our job,we enjoy the cricket and always we do...Are you beggar?
            Reply
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              James
              Jun 5, 2017 at 11:45 am
              OK Enjoy while British are you. haa haa haa. Once a stupid alwasy a stupid. Even a blind man can see s tanis gave away wickets. ENJOY THE haa haa haa no wonder you are spineless weak people.
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                James
                Jun 5, 2017 at 11:49 am
                I am man with self respect and common sense. British are s c r ewing you. Thaqts what you get for being fan atic about cricket. Lots of money to be made in Cricket. Pa kist an being enemy helps. More viewers you see. Enjoy THE SC RE WING BY ICC. Time will tell
              2. R
                ramesh ahuja
                Jun 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm
                Are you fit to play cricket against India ??? Is your army fit to fight against India?? Is not you guys tremble and Remove your pants against our army??? Was fckng JINNAH father of Pkstn ??? Your answer will be NOOOOOO.
                Reply
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                  ramesh ahuja
                  Jun 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm
                  Pkstn conducting tri nation tournament, BALUCHISTAN, AFGHANISTAN and pkstan. Which country will win ??? Lucky winner will get $100000 BAluchi money.
                  Reply
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                  Ahsan
                  Jun 5, 2017 at 9:28 am
                  Common guys , this is mandated by icc in champions trophy and cannot be ignored so finally decided to play with x. Bcci already cancelled many of the tournament and matches even bearing losses (thought)
                  Reply
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                    Rahul
                    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:58 am
                    Oh really! Look at yur team and indian team. Then talk otherwise shutup and watch yur loosing team "PAK" they can inly win against SRILANKA,BANGLADESH and WESTINDIES those teams who have no any potential for winning against big teams like INDIA, ENGLAND and AUSTRAILIA. Now u thought
                    Reply
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                    mtv
                    Jun 5, 2017 at 8:21 am
                    One side we are fighting a dirty war with PAK and other side we are playing cricket with them. Whose interests being served? Just for few players and BCCI, we are doing this? Many of our soldiers are dying every day and we keep playing cricket with these devious country. Shameless and utter non-sense!
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                      Nishant
                      Jun 5, 2017 at 7:33 am
                      Part 2 ...contd: Pathistani people should be able to donate to India's PM's fund as money in safe reserve which could be returned to them in future, rather than enslave their Imaan to Shaitan forever.A good series of cricket matches would then be possible, people will not be breaking their TVs or threatening to harm cricket players or the board members.
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                        Nishant
                        Jun 5, 2017 at 7:31 am
                        Win or loss in game is equally good, as it is bound to happen. But, there is a dark side of this game, when we see stanis breaking their TV sets, threatening to cut hands of their players, and making feverent appeal to their PM to let them commit these barbaric acts. An era of poisonous jihad has destro the fabric of Pathi society, and unfortunately it is their own doing, axing one's own feet without realizing that Islam, their state religion was never in any threat during or before par ion of 1947. The hatred has turned so inflamed that they chose to sell their Imaan and their children's future to Chinese East India Co style plans. Our ancestors were no angels, as their decisions led to millions of deaths, and the current ru cl of Pathistan (practically military and ISI) has done a mistake of the same order. India should help Pathistan from such a shameful self destruction. ..contd.
                        Reply
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