The most anticipated clash of this year's world cup took off on a bright sunny day at Adelaide with India winning the toss and electing to bat first. Indian batsmen did well to reach 300/7 after 50 overs and later on in the day, Indian bowlers put up a good show to deny Pakistan a chance at history. MS Dhoni and his men routed the opposition in their world cup opener as Team India registered a thumping 76 run victory with Virat Kohli being adjudged Man of the Match for his controlled century.
On Sunday, Pakistan had a wonderful chance to make amends to their woeful world cup record against India, but they could not. Pakistan had everything going for them as India had not won a single game in the last three months in Australia. Pakistan had already won two games in three days in Australia. India were tired & weary while Pakistan were fresh & hungry. It seemed like India won’t be able to take 10 wickets whereas Pakistan looked capable enough of running through the Indian batting line-up. Despite all expert analysis, the contest was poised to be a close encounter.
However, Misbah & Co. had forgotten that when it comes to ICC events, MS Dhoni is a different kettle of fish. Also, Dhoni’s surprise retirement from Test cricket sealed his focus on limited overs cricket. It was quite clear on Sunday that Dhoni & his men were up to the mark in all aspects of the game. Be it bowling, batting, fielding, or even captain cool’s ‘wicked’ captaincy. In fact, Dhoni’s captaincy received some lavish praise from Gavaskar & Ian Chappel, who both stated that MSD was proactive, aggressive, & ahead of the game at every juncture.
The Indo-Pak world cup clash at Adelaide was a typical match of the age-old sub-continent rivals. Like always, Pakistan had a better bowling attack while India had better batsmen. But India’s agility in the field and Dhoni’s foxy captaincy put the defending champs miles ahead ahead. While Pakistan gave two ‘lives’ to Kohli, Jadeja caught Ahmed Shehzad despite a slight fumble. Also, while Misbah was somewhat over-cautious with his field placements, Dhoni showed sublime aggression by pushing a first slip and even a leg-slip if and when required. Also, Shami’s excellent bowling combined with some tight attack by the likes of Ashwin, Yadav, and Mohit Sharma allowed India to restrict Pakistan to 224 in 47 overs.
But frankly speaking, the match per se lacked the ‘masala’ one generally associates with an India-Pakistan encounter. Once Umesh Yadav orchestrated a crucial double strike, the match became a one-sided affair with the Pakistan batting line-up collapsing in almost no time. Only seasoned campaigner Misbah-ulHaq offered some resistance. But Indian fans are not complaining at all. Team India will now be facing the in-form Proteas on February 22 at MCG. South Africa have just survived a close-shave against Zimbabwe so India will fancy their chances to throw the Proteas off-balance early in the tournament. The good news is that weather would be just right for the contest as temperature will go up to 25°C during day time with a minimum of around 18°C. It will be bright & sunny with a decent breeze of 15-20 kmph blowing from south/ southwest. Hopefully, India will shine again and record their first world cup win against South Africa. Skymet will keep you updated on weather, cricket, and more as the CWC bandwagon rumbles further.