World Cup: India off to steady start vs Pakistan

Rohit Sharma

Manchester, June 16: India made a cautious but steady start in a tense World Cup round robin match against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Old Trafford ground here on Sunday.

The Indian openers batted cautiously during the early overs. After the end of the 10th over, Rohit Sharma was batting on 37 while Lokesh Rahul was on 14.

In-form pacer Mohammed Amir bowled well for Pakistan but the other Pakistan bowlers were handled comfortably by the Indian batsmen.

Rohit took time to settle down and was finding it difficult to middle some of the balls from Amir. But once he had settled down, the timing and touch was perfect.

Hasan Ali cam in for some punishment with Rohit pulling him for a six.

A horrendous piece of miscommunication between the Indian batsmen almost led to a run out for Rohit but an equally bad piece of fielding by Pakistan let him off the hook.

Rohit wanted to come back for two and Rahul sent him back. Rohit, already halfway down the track, was stranded in the middle, but Fakhar Zaman fires the ball to the wrong end! Poor cricket all round there.

Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and opted to field first.

"We will bowl first. It is raining so conditions are good for bowling. We have quality spinners and we have backed them today. We are not thinking about 6-0," Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said after the toss.

India have made a change in their squad by bringing in rookie medium-pacer all-rounder Vijay Shankar as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan. Shankar will be making his World Cup debut.

Lokesh Rahul has been moved up the batting order to the opener's slot left vacant by Dhawan.

We would have bowled first to be honest. Wicket looks really nice though. We will be in good stead if we bat well. That's the kind of attention this game brings but once you enter the field it is all about playing your game," Indian skipper Virat Kohli said.

We have been playing good cricket and we don't want to tinker much with the team combination. We have once forced change, Shikhar misses out and Vijay Shankar comes in his place. He is a solid batsman," he added.

Teams:

India: Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir

News24 Bureau

Photo: Google Image