India start ICC Champions Trophy defence with an easy win over Pakistan

India’s star-studded batting line-up excelled as Virat Kohli’s side comprehensively beat rivals Pakistan by 124 runs at a showery Edgbaston to get their ICC Champions Trophy defence off to a winning start.

At the venue that played host to their 2013 final win over England, in a match reduced to 20 overs a side due to rain, India again saw the weather play its part on Sunday as the action was interrupted on three occasions.

However, the reigning champions were still able to kick off their Group B campaign with a resounding win as Pakistan slumped to 164 all out in pursuit of a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 289 from 41 overs.

India’s imposing total of 319-3 in 48 overs owed much to an opening stand of 136 between Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68).

Kohli (81 not out from 68 balls) and Yuvraj Singh then raised the tempo effectively, the latter using up just 32 balls for his 53, while Hardik Pandya (20 not out) clubbed three maximums in the final set of six as the last four overs of the innings yielded a remarkable 72 runs.

To make matters worse for Pakistan, star bowler Mohammad Amir was forced off with cramp during India’s innings and Wahab Riaz, who gave up 87 runs in 8.4 overs, also left the field with an ankle injury.

India started conservatively after being inserted, but Rohit and Dhawan were soon into their stride either side of the day’s first rain break, as Wahab proved particularly expensive.

Dhawan eventually holed out to deep midwicket off Shadab Khan in the 25th over and Rohit was denied a hundred after Kohli called him through for a risky single that he could not quite make.

However, Babar Azam’s good work in running out Rohit provided a contrast to Pakistan’s general efforts in the field, and both Yuvraj and Kohli were dropped prior to the late onslaught that lifted India to a huge score.

Pakistan’s initial target was 324 from 48 overs, but this became 289 from 41 when rain arrived for a third time in the fifth over of the reply.

There was bright sunshine in Birmingham when play resumed and India soon had further reason to be cheerful as their opponents lost their way, Azhar Ali providing the only prolonged resistance with 50 at the top of the order.

Ravindra Jadeja and Pandya returned identical figures of 2-43 from eight overs, while Umesh Yadav brought the match to a hurried conclusion, dismissing Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali with successive deliveries to finish with 3-30 and leave Pakistan nine down with the injured Wahab unable to bat.

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