World Cup: Rohit ton, Kohli heroics take India to big total

Rohit Sharma

Manchester, June 16: India posted a challenging total of 336/5 in their World Cup match against arch-rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford here on Sunday.

The Indians rode a superb century by Rohit Sharma and excellent batting by skipper Virat Kohli.

Rohit scored 140 off 113 balls before gifting his wicket to Hasan Ali with a needlessly extravagant shot. His innings included 14 boundaries and three power packed hits into the crowd.

This was the 24th ODI hundred by the Mumbai batsman.

This is the highest score by an Indian batsman against Pakistan at the World Cup.

Rohit is also the first Indian batsman to score back to back ODI hundreds against Pakistan following his unbeaten 111 in Dubai at the Asia Cup last year.

Virat Kohli

Rohit reached his half-century style, hitting a Shadab Khan delivery to the fence. This is the third World Cup half-century for Rohit.

The Mumbai batsman has been in superb form in the last few matches. This was his fifth consecutive score over 50.

Kohli scored 77 off 65 balls before inexplicably walking off to the pavilion after a Mohammed Amir bouncer narrowly missed the outside edge on its way to the wicket-keeper.

Lokesh Rahul, the other Indian opener also reached his 50 in stylish manner, hitting Mohammad Hafeez for a six over long-off.

The two openers gave India a cautious but steady start. The Indian openers batted cautiously during the early overs before upping the ante.

Crowd at India vs Pakistan match

The duo put on an opening stand of 136 runs to give the men in blue a solid platform for a big total.

This is the biggest opening partnership by India against Pakistan at the World Cup. This was the sixth opening stand in excess of 100 runs against Pakistan at the World Cup and the first by India.

The pair, opening together for the first time, broke a 23-year-old record set by Sachin Tendulkar and Navjot Singh Sidhu for the highest opening partnership in a World Cup match against Pakistan.

Tendulkar and Sidhu had shared a 90-run stand for the opening wicket in the 1996 World Cup in Bengaluru. India went on to post 287 before winning the match by 37 runs.

Rohit and Rahul broke the record in the 16th over with the latter getting out on 57, spooning a Wahab Riaz fullish delivery to Babar Azam at covers.

Rohit helped the duo get the landmark with a cut against leg-spinner Shadab Khan.

Fast Bowler Wahab Riaz with Pakistan team

Fast bowler Wahad Riaz broke the partnership when Rahul misjudged a slower ball and his drive landed comfortably into the hands of Babar Azam at cover.

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 bals 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 Rahul but an equally bad piece of fielding by Pakistan let him off the hook.

Virat Kohli

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.

Mohammed Amir (Left) and Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed celebrating the fall of an Indian wicket

"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.

News24 Bureau

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