Champions Trophy: Difficult for Pakistan to make comeback, says Afridi

"India started as the favourite and played the entire game in the same frame of mind, even as Pakistan crumbled limply".

Ali continued to battle on, top scoring for Pakistan with a steady 50 runs off 65 balls before being dismissed. It will never take Pakistan cricket backwards. Pakistan bowlers looked to have kept the Indian batsmen under control. He scored 33 off 43 balls with two hits to the fence.

Umesh Yadav, although blundering numerous times in the field, took three wickets thanks to his speed.

Earlier, a brilliant batting display helped India post a challenging 319/3.

The Indian batsmen remained focussed despite the rain breaks with Rohit Sharma (91 off 119), Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 65), Kohli (81 not out off 68) and Yuvraj (53 off 32) rising to the occasion in a game reduced to 48 overs a side.

Before the match, players, officials and a crowd of 24,156 - a record for a One-Day International at Edgbaston - observed a minute's silence for the victims of Saturday's London terror attack that killed seven people. Apart from Amir and Shadab, no other Pakistani bowler showed any good signs of good bowling.

Not just the big defeat, there were also concerns in the Pakistani camp over the fitness of several players like Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

"Credit to India's batsmen".

India smashed 72 off their final four overs as Pakistan's attack wilted.

The experienced duo then played their strokes, especially Rohit, who exquisitely punched through the off-side. But Pakistan could only manage 164.

Pakistan's highest scorer Azhar Ali was reprieved twice, once by all-rounder Hardik Pandya who missed a runout opportunity and once by medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who dropped his catch at long-on.

India started the innings very cautiously making sure they do not lose a wicket in the first 10 overs.

Some suggestions were made about Rohit Sharma's low strike-rate, but Kohli dismissed those suggestions by clearly stating that for a player making a comeback to worldwide cricket, it was important for Rohit Sharma to spend time in the middle.

In the 37th over, Virat wanted to steal a single but a strong throw from backward point by Babar Azam did the trick and Rohit, who slammed seven boundaries and two sixes, failed to scramble home.

His departure had freed India up for a run-feast, Yuvraj (53) and Kohli putting on 93 at nearly 10 an over as all notion of Pakistani discipline evaporated. The 37-year-old, who announced his worldwide retirement earlier this year, also said heaped praise on Virat Kohli's men, saying that Men in Blue lived up to their tag of tournament favourites.

Virat Kohli also praised Hardik Pandya for hitting three consecutive sixes in the last over and said that the decision to promote him over Dhoni was because he had the "amazing talent" of being able to hit big shots from the word go.

  • Salvatore Jensen