Pakistan ended their ICC Champions Trophy 2013 campaign with a humiliating eight-wicket defeat to arch-rivals India in the final game of Group B. An inspired bowling effort from India, combined with miserable batting from Pakistan ensured the latter scored just 165 in what was initially a 40 overs per side game, shortened by persistent rain. Further stoppages and revisal of the target gave India just 102 to win in 22 overs, which the number one-ranked team in the world overcame without breaking a sweat.
It was an anti-climactic game in all senses, totally void of all the passion and excitement that usually oozes through an India-Pakistan clash. India were always favourites going into the encounter, having topped the group with convincing victories over South Africa and West Indies, while Pakistan had already crashed out of the tournament with two defeats.
It was a dead rubber on paper, but that hadn’t stopped thousands of fans from both sides and a peppering of neutrals from thronging Edgbaston to witness what they hoped would be a humdinger. However, Pakistan’s listless show in all departments, especially the batting, coupled with the incessant weather ensured that the game was as dead as the consequence of the result.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma all took two wickets each, while Asad Shafiq was the only batsman who managed to score more than 40 runs in another hapless Pakistan collapse. It was the third time in as many matches in the tournament that Pakistan failed to get more than 170 on the board.
Pakistan were rocked early after being put in to bat by MS Dhoni in overcast conditions as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got India’s kryptonite, Nasir Jamshed, caught in the slips in his first over. Jamshed had three hundreds and a half-century to boast of in five matches against India prior to this game, but could only score two runs this time before an outside edge was lapped up by Suresh Raina at second slip.
Mohammad Hafeez (27) and Kamran Akmal (21) steadied the innings for a brief period until the rain came in for the first time and forced a five-minute interval. The break in momentum was enough for India as both batsmen were sent packing within the space of 18 deliveries at the expense of just six runs.
This brought Shafiq and captain Misbah-ul-Haq together, who took the score from 56 for three to 79 for three in 19 overs before the skies began to leak again. This time, it was a much longer intervention — more than two and a half hours — which forced the game to be reduced to 40-overs-a-side.
After the break, Shafiq and Misbah showed no urgency to up the scoring and ambled along until the 27th over, before the former showed the first signs of aggression. Shafiq hit Jadeja, who had waited 22 overs to get a bowl, for two consecutive boundaries, before the deceiving left-arm spinner had the last laugh. Misbah left a small gap between his bat and pad, and that was all that Jadeja’s golden arm needed to bowl through the gates.
Misbah had been the only solid component of an otherwise leaky dam that is the Pakistan batting. Thus, after his fall, it was always going to be a huge ask for the men in green to stage a comeback. The wicket of Shafiq at 131 for five was the final nail in the coffin, as the last six wickets fell for just 34 runs.
Set 168 to win off 40 overs initially, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma shared India’s third fifty-plus opening stand in a row. Rohit gifted his wicket to Saeed Ajmal in the 11th over before the rains came down to stop the match again.
After an hour of stoppage, the target was reduced to 102 in 22 overs, which was a walk in the park for the Indians. Dhawan, fresh from back-to-back centuries against South Africa and West Indies, lost his wicket in a bid to finish things off once and for all; he was gone for 48 that came off just 41 balls.
However, Virat Kohli (22 not out) and Dinesh Karthik (11 not out) ensured that India did not suffer any further damage as they took their team through with 17 balls to spare.
Pakistan 165 in 40 overs (Asad Shafiq 41, Umar Amin 27*; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 19, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 30) lost to India 102 for 2 in 19.1 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 48, Virat Kohli 22*; Wahab Riaz 1 for 20) by 8 wickets (D/L method).