India steamrollered Pakistan by seven wickets in a lopsided blockbuster match at a heaving Narendra Modi Stadium to maintain their unblemished 50-overs World Cup record against their archrivals.
The western Indian city had been in the grip of cricket fever ahead of the tournament’s most anticipated match on Saturday, and India got themselves in the driving seat early by bundling out their opponents for 191 inside 43 overs.
With Babar Azam (50) and Muhammad Rizwan (49) in the middle, a total of about 300 looked within Pakistan’s reach, only for them to collapse in a heap, failing to last their full 50 overs.
India’s skipper Rohit Sharma led the chase with a blistering 86, and the two-time champions eventually romped home in 30.3 overs to maintain their unbeaten record against Pakistan in the history of the tournament.
They also joined 2019 runners-up New Zealand as the only two teams to win their first three matches in the tournament so far.
Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah was player of the match with figures of 2-19 off nine overs.
Rohit hit the ball to all parts of the ground with his delightful flicks and pulls to entertain an almost all-Indian crowd at the world’s biggest cricket stadium after Pakistanis were effectively banned from attending.
India lost Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli – both for 16 – before Rohit and Shreyas Iyer, who hit the winning four to reach 53, put on 77 runs for the third wicket and placed India comfortably on course for victory.
Rohit fell attempting another hit off Shaheen Shah Afridi to get caught at mid-wicket, but Iyer and KL Rahul took the team home with ease.
Bowlers set up victory after India elected to field and Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each.